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TO THE BTTLE-FIEIJ>S (1914 1918) 











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Published by 


Clermont-Ferrand, France. 

Copyright by Michelin & Cie. 1919. 

All rights of translation, adaptation, or reproduction (in part or whole) reserved 

in all countries. 

On July 6th, 1919, the President of the French 

Republic conferred the Croix de la Legion d'Honneur 

on Rheims (fastening it personally on the City 
Arms), with the following "citation"; 

" Martyred city, destroyed by an infuriated 
enemy, powerless to hold it. 

" Sublime population who, like the Municipal 
Authorities models of devotion to duty and 
despising all danger gave proof of magnificent 
courage, by remaining more than three years under 
the constant menace of 4he enemy's attacks, and 
by leaving their homes only when ordered to do so. 

"/Inspired by the example of the heroic French 
of jvenemted, memory, whose statue stands 
; heart of the city, showed unshakeable faith 
s future of France (Croix de Guerre}." 






(Photograph found on a German prisoner) 



Rheims is one of the oldest towns in France, so old that legendary accounts, 
in an endeavour to outdo one another, carry back its foundation sometimes 
to 1440 B.C. after the Flood, sometimes to the siege of Troy. Lying at the 
intersection of the natural routes between Belgium and Burgundy, and between 
the Parisian basin and Lorraine, i.e. between political districts that long 
remained different in character, and regions having different commercial 
resources, it was at one and the same time the " oppidum " and market-tmvn. 
Its military and commercial position destined it early to be a great city. 

It probably takes its name from the tribe of the Remi, who occupied 
almost the whole territory now forming the " departements " of the Marne 
and the Ardennes, and who were clients of the Suessiones (Soissons) before 
the Roman conquest. It was already a prosperous town, under the name of 
" Durocortorum," when Caesar conquered Gaul. It freed itself from the 
yoke of the Suessiones by accepting the Roman domination. When the 
Belgians revolted in 57 B.C., the Remi remained faithful to Caesar and received 
the title of "friends of the Roman people." Neither did they take any part 
in the general revolt of Gaul in 52 B.C. Under the Empire, Rheims was, 
with Treves, one of the great centres of Latin culture in '' Gallia Belyica.' 
On becoming a federated city, it retained its institutions and senate. A 
favourite residence of the Roman Governors, Rheims was embellished with 
sumptuous villas and magnificent monuments, and soon became one of the 
most prosperous towns in Gaul. At the beginning of the Germanic invasions 
Rheims drew in its borders and became a military town. Under Diocletian 
it was the capital of Belf/ica Secmida. 

According to tradition, Christianity was first preached in Rheims by 
St. Sixtus and St. Sinirus, the first bishops of the city. However that may be, 
Christianity was firmly established there as early as the 3rd century. A 
bishop of Rheims was present at the Council of Aries in 314. The conversion 
of several great Roman personages (amongst others, the Consul Jovinns see 
p. 118) favoured the progress of the Christian religion. 

In the 5th century, when Rome, otherwise occupied, was unable to hold 
back the barbarians, invasions interfered with the development of the city. 
The Frankish conquest marked the beginning of a new period of prosperity. 
In 486, after the victory of Soissons, Clovis entered into negotiations with 
St. Remi, who, at the age of 22, had been elected Bishop of Rheims in 459, 
and whose long episcopate of seventy-four years is probably unique in history. 
On Christmas Day, A.D. 496, St. Remi, who had arranged the marriage of Clovis 
with the Christian princess Clotilde, baptized the Frankish king with his 
own hands in the Cathedral. This important event took place undoubtedly 
at Rheims and not at Tours, as a learned German, Krusch, has attempted 
to prove. 

Under the Merovingians and Carolingians, the history of Rheims became 
merged in that of the French monarchy. The possession of the city was 
disputed as fiercely as that of the throne. The city was mixed up in quarrels 
from which it suffered, without, however, losing its religious prestige. Pepin- 
le-Bref and Pope Stephen III.. Charlemagne and Pope Leo 111. had famous 
interviews there. When the Carolingians restored the religious hierarchv 
Rheims became one of the twenty-two chief cities of the Empire. From the 
time of Charlemagne, the Archbishop" of Rheims ruled over twelve bishoprics, 
comprising the cities of the ancient Roman province of Belgicn Secunda. 

From the 9th to the llth century the history of Rheims is that of its 
church. The Counts of Vermandois, the Lords of Coucy and the archbishops 
first disputed, then divided its temporal possession, the latter falling eventu- 
ally to the archbishops in the llth century. After becoming Counts, with 
the right to coin money, and, from 940. powerful temporal princes, the 
archbishops played a great political part in the struggles between the 
Carolingian princes. Under Charles-le-Chauve, Archbishop Hincmar became 
the protector of the enfeebled monarchy. In 858 he prevented Louis-le- 
Germanique from deposing his nephew and becoming King of France. In 
987, Archbishop Adalberon, at the Meeting of Senlis, drove the legitimate 
heir, Charles de Lorraine, from the throne, and favoured the election of 
Hughes Capet. Although, under the Capetians, Paris became the political 
capital of France, Rheims became the religious metropolis of the kingdom. 
From the time when Louis-le-Pieux had himself consecrated emperor in the 
Cathedral, by Pope Stephen IV., it was understood that every new king 
must be consecrated by the successor of St. Remi. 

The Consecration of the Kings of France 

In the 12th century, Popes and Kings formally acknowledged the right 
of the Archbishop of Rheims to consecrate and crown the kings of France. 
As a matter of fact, until the Revolution, all the kings, except Louis IV. 
and Henri IV., were consecrated at Rheims. 

The ceremony of consecration filled the Cathedral with a great crowd of 
people. Apart from the peers, numerous prelates, dignitaries of the Kingdom, 
the Court, the Chapter of the Cathedral and the populace crowded in. Staging 
was erected for the public in the transept ends and along the choir. Before 
the consecration took place, the archbishop, at the head of a procession, 
went to receive the Sacred Ampulla at the threshold of the Cathedral, brought 
on horseback by the Abbot of St. Remi. Returning to the altar, the prelate 
received the King's oath and then consecrated him, anointing him with the 
holy oil on his head and breast, between and on his shoulders, on the joints 
of his arms and in the palms of his hands, each motion being accompanied 
with a special prayer. Then the Peers handed the insignia of royalty to the 
archbishop, who, surrounded by all the Peers, placed the crown of Charlemagne 
on the head of the King, while the people shmited " Long live the King." 

The King was then led to a throne prepared for him at the entrance to 
the Choir, and mass was celebrated with great pomp. The King and Queen 
communicated in both kinds, and the royal party then went in procession 
to the archbishop's palace, where the Feast of Consecration was held. 

In 1162. the Archbishopric of Rheims, until then a county, became a 
Duchy and the highest peerage in France, which explains why it was given 
to great personages, such as Heuri-de-France and Guillaume-de-Champagne, 
brother and brother-in-law of Louis VII. 

In the 12th century the archbishops, freed from the feudal rivalries, 
were confronted by a new power, the bourgeoisie or middle classes, born of 
the progress of industry and commerce, and whose importance was demon- 
strated by the great Champagne Fairs held sometimes at Rheims and some- 
times at Troyes. The first Company of Burgesses, founded in 1138, soon 
became a " Commune,.'" In 1147, the suburb of St. Remi, which the arch- 
bishop refused to allow to become attached to the " Commune" rose in revolt 
and was only appeased by the intervention of St. Bernard and Suger. 

In 1160, Archbishop Henri-de-France, with the help of the Count of 
Flanders, who was occupying Rheims with a thousand horsemen, suppressed 
the "Commune" whose independence was alarming him. In 1182 a royal 
charter, granting to the inhabitants the right to elect for a year twelve 

"echevins " (aldermen), re-established the Commune in fact, if not in name, 
but the struggle between the Commune and the archbishop still went on. 
In 1211, Philippe- Auguste compelled the aldermen to hand over the keys of 
the city gates to the archbishop. 

In 1228, Archbishop Henri-de-Braine, not feeling himself safe in the city, 
built the fortified castle of Mars-Gate (or old castle of the archbishops) 
outside the walls, but looking towards the city (photo, p. 6). During the 
serious riots of 1235, the burgesses besieged the archbishop's castle, for which 


act they were excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX., and rebuked by 
St. Louis. In 1257, St. Louis intervened once more, to put an end to the 
fighting between the free Companies of the Burghers and the soldiers of 
the archbishop. 

In the 14th century the two adversaries frequently came to blows, until 
the king, in 1362, put an end to their quarrels by taking into his own 
hands the care and military government of Rheims. 

In spite of these local struggles the city developed in the course of the 
Middle Ages. With Chartres it had a well-attended episcopal school, long 
before Paris. Among the masters of this school were Gerbert, one of the 
most learned men of the Middle Ages, who became Pope under the name of 
Sylvester II., and St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian Order. Among the 
pupils were Fulbert (afterwards Bishop of Chartres), the historian Richer, 
Guillaume de Champeaux, and Abelard (adversary of St. Bernard). 

During the Hundred Years' War (see military section) the Town Council 
of Rheims, which the Treaty of Troyes in 1420 had placed under the domina- 
tion of the English, declared in favour of Charles VII. , in spite of the Duke of 
Burgundy, who was residing at Laon, and notwithstanding the intrigues 
of the Bishop of Beauvais, Pierre Cauchon, who, profiting by the absence 
of the archbishop, went so far as to have a Corpus Christi procession in the 
city, to call down the blessing of Heaven upon the English. On July 17th, 
1429, Joan-of-Arc handed over the keys of the city to the king, and was 
present at the consecration, standing near the altar with her standard which, 
" after having been through much tribulation, was accounted worthy of a 
place of honour." Since the return of Charles VII. to Rheims, the city had 
never ceased to be French. After the departure of the king and Joan- of - 
Arc, a friend of Pierre Cauchon plotted to deliver the town into the hands 
of the Duke of Burgundy, to whom the English promised it, provided he could 
take it. The plot was discovered and failed. 

Under Louis XL a serious revolt, known as the Micquemaque, broke out 
in the town. Louis, well received at the time.of his consecration, had promised 
the people of Rheims (or so they believed) the abolition of the tax known as 
the " taille." When, therefore, in the following year, the collectors demanded 
payment, the people rose in. revolt and drove them out. 



The A rclibisltops of nJie!is were formerly powerful temporal 
lords (see page t). 

As usual, the king had recourse to treachery. Disguised as peasants, his 
soldiers entered the city unperceived. Once inside, they arrested those who 
were most deeply compromised, and carried out violent reprisals. Houses 
were plundered, many of the inhabitants banished, and nine put to death. 

During the War of Religion, Rheims sided with the Catholics. 

Under the influence of the Guises, five of whom were archbishops of Rheims 
(notably Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, the protector of Rabelais and Ronsard, 
and founder of the University of Rheims in 1547), the town espoused the cause 
of the League and opened its gates to the Due de Mayenne in 1585. It sub- 
mitted to Henri IV. only after the battle of Ivry, when the Castle of Mars 
Gate (stronghold of the archbishops) was razed to the ground. Henceforth 
the archbishops played no political part, and Richelieu put an end to strife 
by turning the Guises out of the archi- episcopal see. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries the town lived hi peace, with alternations 
of misery and suffering (caused by plague or famine) and commercial and 
industrial prosperity. It was at Rheims that the first French newspaper, 
the " Gazette de France," printed by Godard in 1694, appeared. 

During the Revolution, Rheims received the new ideas with enthusiasm. 
It furnished a great number of volunteers to withstand the invasion, and on 
August 14th, 1792, the Legislative Assembly proclaimed that the city " had 
deserved well of the country." 

Under the Restoration its industry developed. In August, 1830, the 
people, who were favourably to the Revolution of July, overturned the cross 
of the " Calvaire de la Mission," erected in 1821 by the ultra-Catholic party, 
and in its place set up a funeral urn with the inscription, " To the brave men 
who died for liberty on the 27th, 28th and 29th days of July, 1830." The 
population accepted the monarchy of July, but without enthusiasm. 

The Second Empire witnessed a remarkable development of business 
activity which, after the momentary stoppage caused by the War of 1870 
and the Prussian occupation (see military section), made of Rheims, at the end 
of the 19th century, one of the great commercial and industrial cities of 
France. The population increased from about 30,000 (in 1792) to 59,000 (in 
1865) and to more than 115,000 in 1912. 

When the War of 1914 broke out, the rich and ancient city was still as 
La Fontaine had described it : 

" No town is dearer to me than Rheims, 
The Honour and Glory of our France" 



If the military and commercial situation of Rheims destined it, from early 
times, to be a great city, it also exposed it to the gveed of ambitious foreigners, 
and opened the road to invasion. 

During the Hundred Years' War the city was fiercely disputed. On 
December 4th, 1359, Edward III. of England besieged it. On January llth, 
1360, a sortie of the troops and burghers, under Bemi Grammaire, compelled 
him to raise the siege, in recognition of which feat of arms Charles V. per- 
mitted the " fleur-de-lys " (emblem of the Royal House of France) to be 
emblazoned on the City's coat of arms. Since then the Shield of Rheims 
has been : In chief France ancient, in base argent Two, laurel branches in 
Saltire vert. In 1420 the English were more successful and entered Rheims, 
whose gates were opened to them by Philippe-le-Bon, Duke of Burgundy. 
Nine years later (July 16th, 1429) the Dauphin of France and Joan-of-Arc 
entered the town, then finally delivered, by the Dieu-Lumiere Gate (formerly 
the Gate of St. Nicaise). 

During the invasion of 1814, Marshal Marmont's troops retook Rheims 
on March 13th, after sharp street fighting, and Napoleon entered the city 
the same night. 

In 1870, after the investment of Metz, Rheims witnessed the departure 
of the army formed by MacMahon at Chalons-sur-Marne, for the relief of 
Marshal Bazaine. A few days later (September 4th) the Prussian troops 
entered the city at 3 o'clock in the afternoon by three di Terent gates. On 
the 6th, the King of Prussia, accompanied by Bismarck and Von Moltke, 
made an imposing entry, and resided for some tune at the archi-episcopal 
palace, in the apartments reserved for the Kings of France at the time of their 
consecration. Rheims was held to ransom, and a number of citizens shot 
for protesting against the German yoke, chief among whom was the Abbe 
Miroy, Cure of Cuchery, whose toinb (the work of the sculptor Saint Marceaux) 
is in the northern cemetery. Others were carried away prisoners to Germany. 
The Prussian troops evacuated the town on November 20th, 1872. 

The Invasion of 1914 

(See map, p. 11.) 

Forty-four years later to a day (September 4, 1914), German advance 
troops again entered Rheims, as General Joffre's plans had not provided for 
defending the city. However, the Army detachments placed under the com- 
mand of General Foch on August 29, and wedged in between the 4th and 
5th Armies, stayed the German advance for a few days. On August 30 the 
42nd Division from the East, detrained at Rheims and took up positions at 
Sault-Saint-Remy and Saint-Loup-en-Champagne on August 31, to the left 
of the 9th and llth Corps. 

On September 1, General Foch resisted on the river Retourne but, in the 
evening, withdrew to the river Suippe, in conformity with the general orders. 
On the 2nd the town was still protected by the ]0th Corps (elements of which 
occupied the Fort of St. Thierry), by the 42nd Division near Brimont and to 
the north of the Aviation ground, and by the 9th and llth Corps to the 
east. On the 3rd, the French retreat towards the Marne became more rapid, 
and Rheims was abandoned. On September 5, Prince August Wilhelm 
of Prussia entered the town and took up his quarters at the Grand Hotel. 
The Germans at once requisitioned 50 tons of meat, 20 tons of vegetables, 
100 tons of bread, 50 tons of oats, 15,000 gallons of petrol, besides straw 
and hay, and insisted on the immediate payment of a million francs as a 
guarantee that their requirements would be met. 

German troops in front of the Cathedral. The scaffolding of the latter was set on fire on Sept. 19. 

This sum was paid in the course of the afternoon, under threats by the 
enemy, From the 6th onwards the German soldiers gave themselves up to 
plundering. The tobacco warehouse at 21 Rue Payen was ransacked, 
and more than 700,000 francs worth of cigars and tobacco stolen. On 
the following days pillaging, especially of the food-shops, continued. On 
the 9th, the Kommandantur requisitioned civilians to bury the dead in the 
Rethel, Epernay and Montmirail districts. On the llth, the Crown Prince 
arrived and took up his quarters at the Grand Hotel, where he was joined by 
Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of the Kaiser. On the morning of the 12th, 
the Germans, alarmed at the approach of the victorious French troops from 
the Marne, arrested the Mayor (Dr. Langlet), Mgr. Neveux, coadjutor of 
Rheims, and the Abbe Camus. They then drew up a list of a hundred hos- 
tages and threatened to hang them at the first attempt at disorder. Thev 
also threatened to burn the city, wholly or partially, and to hang the inhabi- 
tants, if any of them molested the German soldiers. All that day the Germans, 
instead of organising defences, left the town in haste, after first pillaging it. 
In the afternoon the Crown Prince left the Grand Hotel with his suite. At 
5 p.m., after setting fire to the forage stores, the Kommandantur left Rheims 
by the Rethel road in drenching rain, followed by the hundred hostages, 
who were only released at the level-crossing at Witry-les-Rhoims. When 
the latter returned to Rheims, a patrol of French mounted Chasseurs had 
already entered the town by the suburb of St. Anne. The next morning, 
at about 6 o'clock, the French troops, with the 6th mounted Chasseurs at 
. their head, entered Rheims by the Rue de Vesle. At 1 p.m. General Franchet 
d'Esperey, commanding the French 5th Army, entered the city. 

The Battles for Rheims, 1914-1918 

Although evacuated by the Germans, Rheims had yet to remain for 
nearly four years under enemy fire. With equal obstinacy the adversaries 
disputed the town, the French seeking to disengage it and the Germans 
to recapture it. 


On September 12, on the approach of the victorious French Army from 
the Marne, the Germans entrenched themselves to the south-west of the town, 
and established a line of resistance passing through Thillois, Ormes, Bezannes 
and Villers-aux-Noeuds. 

In spite of the very unfavourable weather, the 3rd Corps (Gen. 
Haehe) vigorously engaged the enemy at Thillois, and forced them to 
abandon the position in the evening. The 1st Corps (Gen. Deligny). 
on the right, had orders to push forward advance-guards into Rheims, 
but as a matter of fact they reached the suburb of Vesle. The 10th 
Corps (Gen. Defforges) attacked at Puisieulx and forced the enemy across 
the Vesle. 

On the 13th, the left of the 3rd Corps arrived in front of Courcy and Brimont, 
where the Germans were strongly entrenched. A desperate battle took 
place, with the result that Courcy was taken before noon. Loivre likewise 
fell into the hands of the French, but the passage of the Aisne Canal was 
fiercely disputed. The attack on Brimont failed, in spite of the great valour 
of the troops, who sustained heavy losses. Meanwhile, the 1st Corps crossed 
Rheims, with orders to debouch at Betheny. Just outside the town 
they were met with violent artillery fire, which, however, did not com- 
pletely check their advance. La Neuvillette, Pierquin Farm and Betheny 
were occupied, and the 1st Corps linked up on its left with the 3rd Corps, 
on the outskirts of Soulain Woods- The advance continued during the 
night, and Modelin Farm was reached by advance-guards. General 
Deligny took up his headquarters in the suburb of Vesle. The 10th 
Corps crossed the Vesle, engaged the enemy at St. Leonard and reached 
the railway. 

On the 14th, the fighting greatly increased in violence. The 3rd 
Corps, in spite of repeated efforts, was unable to advance ; on the left it 
failed to drive the enemy from the St. Marie Farm, while on the right 
it was held up before Brimont. The 1st Corps was likewise checked ; the 
1st Division (Gen. Gallet) attempted unsuccessfully to support General 
Hache in his attack on Brimont. The 10th Corps, although strongly 
engaged towards the Fort of La Pompelle, made but little progress. 
Farther away, on the right, the battle extended along the front of the 
9th Army. 

On the 15th, at 5.30 a.m., the 5th Army resumed a general offensive. 
Fierce fighting took place at St. Marie Farm, to the left of the 3rd Corps, 
and also further north, near Hill 100. Despite heavy sacrifices, however, 
the enemy held their positions ; but, on the right, the 36th Infantry Regiment 
captured the Chateau of Brimont at day-break. General Deligny, less 
fortunate, was driven out of Soulains Woods, but stood firm at the Champ- 
de-Courses and Betheny. The 10th Corps continued to advance slowly, 
and at certain points reached the high-road to Suippes. 

On the 16th, the 3rd Corps attacked Brirnont again, but failed. At the 
chateau the situation became more and more critical, by reason of the 
retreat of the 1st Corps on the previous day. This Corps had again to face 
a powerful enemy counter-offensive, which, however, failed to drive it from 
the Modelin Farm and the " Cavaliers de Courcy." 

On the 17th, the Germans counter-attacked all along the line. In the 
afternoon the 3rd Corps, which stood firm at Godat Farm and Loivre, was 
elsewhere compelled to cross to the west bank of the canal and fall back on 

After P heroic defence the isolated garrison of Brimont Castle, weakened 
by heavy losses, surrendered during the night, after having spent all its 
ammunition. The 1st Corps, the greater part of which had left for the 


region of Berry-au-Bac, held its positions with its last available units. The 
10th Corps extended its front westwards to Betheny, while one of its regiments, 
the 2nd Infantry, occupied La Pompelle Fort. 

On the 18th, the enemy increased their efforts against the front held by 
the 3rd Corps and the reserve units further west. Loivre, which had so 
far resisted, fell. The French withdrew to the west of the road to Laon. 
The situation was considered critical at this point of the front. The 10th 
Corps, which had been withdrawn from the east of Rheims, in fav -ur of 
another sector, was stopped on the way and sent for a few days in support 
of the 3rd Corps. 

On the 19th, one of its brigades counter-attacked Courcy Mill. On the 
other side, the Moroccan Division (Gen. Humbert), which had relieved the 
10th Corps, continued to hold La Pompelle Fort, 

Gradually the front became fixed. Desperate, indecisive fighting still 
took place, but finally the front stabilised on the line extending from the 
foot of the Berru and Nogent-l'Abbesse Hills, along the road from Rheims 
to Suippes, on the east, and along the western bank of the Aisne Canal on the 



(See pp. 9-11.) 


The French Offensive of April, 1917 

The French offensive, planned by the then Commander-in-Chief, General 
Nivelle, and launched in April, between Soissons and Auberive, aimed at 
piercing the German front and disengaging Rheims. 

North-west of Rheims was the 5th Army (Gen. Maze!), of which the 
38th Corps (Gen. de Mondesir) held the immediate approaches to the town, 
followed by the 7th Corps (Gen. de Bazelaire), 32nd Corps (Gen. Passaga) 
astride the Aisne, and, extending beyond Craonne, the 5th Corps (Gen. de 
Boissoudy) and the 1st Corps (Gen. Muteau). 

East of Rheims the 4th Army (Gen. Anthoine) was engaged only during 
the second stage of the battle. 

At 6 a.m. on the 16th, in drenching rain, the 5th Army attacked all 
along the front, in conjunction on the left with the 6th Army (Gen. Mangin), 
which undertook to storm the Chemin-des-Dames. The enemy was expecting 
the attack, and had concentrated very, large forces and powerful artillery. 
Despite their bravery, the French were unable to break through. 

In the Rheims sector, the 32nd Corps advanced three kilometers to the 


north of the Aisne. The 7th Corps crossed the canal at Loivre and captured 
Bermericourt in the morning, but was forced to give up part of the conquered 
ground in the afternoon, in consequence of a powerful German counter- 
attack. In front of Brimont a brigade of the 38th Corps failed to pierce the 
enemy's positions. 

On the 17th, while the army of General Maze! resisted a violent enemy 
counter-atack, General Anthoine attacked from the east of Rheims to Auberive 
with the 8th Corps (Gen. Hely d'Oissel), 17th Corps (Gen. J. B. Dumas), 
12th Corps (Gen. Nourrisson). At 4.45 a.m., despite violent squalls of rain 
and snow, the French infantry rushed forward and carried the first German 
lines along a front of eleven kilometers. The 34th Division (Gen. de Lobit) 
carried the Mont Cornillet and Mont Blond hills, which the enemy attempted 
in vain to recapture. 

On April 18 and 19, and May 4 and 5, the fighting was spasmodic and 
finally ceased. On the whole, the French offensive failed, and Rheims 
continued to remain under enemy gun-fire. 

On the morning of May 27, 1918, the Germans commenced a powerful 
offensive between Vauxaillon (on the Chemin-des-Dames) and the Fort of 
Brimont, At the beginning of the attack, the French line passed through 
Betheny and along the Aisne-Marne Canal. In the evening, after the loss 


of the Chemin-des-Dames and the Aisne Canal, Rheims was no longer pro- 
tected on the north-west, except by the St. Thierry Heights, which were soon 
turned. The Germans crossed the Vesle at several points, principally at 
Bazoches and Fismes, and advanced as far as Muizon. 

On May 29, the French line passed through La Neuvillette, Chalons- 
sur-Vesle, Muizon and Rosnay. On the 30th, it extended from Perquin 
Farm to Mery-Premecy, via Champigny. On the 31st, Tinqueux and Vrigny 

Further to the south the Germans advanced along the valley of the Ardre 
towards the Chateau-Thierry Epernay Chalons railway, threatening 
Epernay (see the Michelin Guide: " The Second Battle of the Marne "). 

However, Rheims still held out. On June 1, the Germans attacked 
simultaneously, without success, to the south-east of the town (between 
Pommery Park and La Pompelle Fort), and on the west and south-west 
(between La Haubette and Ormes), while the French recaptured Vrigny. 
On three seperate occasions in the evening of the 1st, and on June 9 and 
18, the enemy's powerful and costly efforts to recapture this important 
position broke down. On the 18th, they delivered a fresh general attack 
from Vrigny to La Pompelle, gaining a footing in the Northern Cemetery of 
Rheims and in the north-eastern outskirts of Sillery, but everywhere else 
they were repulsed. On the 23rd and 29th, they rushed Bligny Hill, held by 
the Italians, only to lose it again shortly afterwards. Once again, Rheims 
had eluded the enemy's grasp. 

July 15 to August 9, 1918 

At dawn, on July 15, the Germans began a new offensive from Chateau- 
Thierry to La Main de Massiges. It was Ludendorf 's much vaunted " Frieden- 
sturm " (peace-battle), and was expected by him to prove irresistible and 




decisive. Its purpose was to complete the encirclement of Rheims, 
carry the hills surrounding the town, crush the French 4th Army, 
and reach Chalons-sur-Marne (see the Michelin Guide : " Champagne and 
Argonne "). However, this time, there was no surprise, and the Allies held 
out victoriously. 

To the west, between Dormans and Rheims, Franco -Italian forces held 
their ground on the Chatillon-sur-Marne Cuchery Marfaux Bouilly line. 
To the east, from La Pompelle to the Argonne, the army of General Gouraud, 
after voluntarily abandoning its first line previous to the enemy's attack, 
checked and decimated the armies of Von 'Einem and Von Mudra, on its 
second or battle-line. On July 16, 17 and 18, the enemy, now exhausted 
and incapable of resuming their general attack, attempted local attempts 
only, especially near Beaumont-sur-Vesle, to the north of Prosnes, and in the 
region of Trigny and Pourcy, to the west, all of which were repulsed. Once 
more Rheims escaped, and was destined from now on, to be gradually freed 
from the enemy's grasp. The French counter-offensive began on July 18, 
on the Aisne (see the Michelin Guide: " The Second Battle of the Marne "), 
extending shortly afterwards to the west of Rheims. On the 22nd, the army 
of General Berthelot captured St. Euphraise and Bouilly, and on the 23rd 
reached a point between Vrigny and the Ardre. A number of German 
counter-attacks on July 24, 25 and 30 and August 1 failed to check 
its advance. On August 2, Gueux and Thillois were recaptured. On 
the 4th, the Vesle was reached to the east of Fismes, and the latter occupied, 
while a small force crossed to the north bank of the river. On the 7th, after 
fierce fighting, in which the French and Americans advanced foot by foot, 
the Vesle was crossed to the east of Bazoches and Braine. On the 9th, 
Fismette was taken. 

September 26 to November 11, 1918 

The disengaging of Rheims, which had begun slowly, was now rapidly 
accomplished. Two French offensives completely effected it in a few days 


that of September 26 (see the Miclidin Guide: "Cfiampagne and Argonne"), 
under General Gouraud, and that of September 30, first by General Berthelot 
and then by General Guillaumat. The first of these offensives, to the east, 
brought about the fall of the Moronvilliers Heights, after outflanking them ; 
the second, to the west, captured the Saint-Thierry Heights, the French troops 
crossing the Aisne-Marne Canal from Le Godat to La Neuvillette. This double 
manosuvre forced the Germans, whose communications were threatened, to 
beat a hasty retreat on October 5 along a twenty-seven mile front. An 
important part of the old German front of 1914, and one of the most fiercely 
disputed, collapsed suddenly. The formidable forts of Brimont and Nogent- 
1'Abbesse, which had held Rheims under their guns for four years, fell. 
This time the deliverance of Rheims waa complete and final. 

\ F'.de Nogent-IAbbesseQ 

5|io Moronvilliers 


The dotted lines show the Allied advance at the date indicated in the middle of each zone 
conquered. The line of departure is that of July 18 (18/7). On the evening of Oct. 6 (6/10) 
the upper thick dotted line the town was completely disengaged. The Allied advance has 
the appearance of a fan spreading out west of Rheims until Oct. 5 (5/10), when the Germans 
were forced to make a deep retreat. 


The Destruction of Rheims 

Being unable to capture Rheims, the Germans reduced it to ruins 
by bombardment. For four years (September 4, 1914, to October 5, 
1918) they rained explosive and incendiary shells on it, almost without 

On September 3, 1914, at about 11 a.m., a German aeroplane dropped 
bombs on the town. A few of the inhabitants left, as the enemy approached, 
but the majority remained. A lady-teacher, sixty years of age, Mile. Fouriaux 
(afterwards decorated with the Legion d'Honneur), who had charge of Hospital 
No. 101 (formerly a high-school for girls), transferred the wounded to Epernay 
and then returned on foot to Rheims. 

On September 4, at 9.30 a.m., when the enemy advance-guards were 
already in the town, and a German officer was making requisitions at the 
Town Hall, the bombardment began again. From 9.30 to 10.15 a.m., 176 
large shells fell into the town, three of which tore open the great gallery of 
modern paintings in the Museum. Forty-nine civilians were killed and 130 
wounded, several of them mortally. 

The Germans, hard pressed by the French, evacuated Rheims on September 
12. Two days later, at 9 a.m., they bombarded the town. Their fire was 
especially directed against the headquarters of General Franchet d'Esperey, 
near the Town Hall. On the following days, firing was resumed at the same 
hour. On the 17th, the first fires broke out. Many civilians were killed or 
wounded. The vicinity of the Cathedral, which was believed to be specially 
aimed at, was among the places that suffered most. To protect the Cathedral, 
which the Germans had fitted up on the 12th for the reception of their wounded, 
some seventy to eighty German wounded were accommodated on straw in 
the nave. The Red Cross flag was displayed on each tower, and notice given 
to the enemy. 




On the 18th, the bombardment began again at 8.15 a.m. In addition 
to the Sub-Prefecture, which was almost entirely destroyed, as were also 
many important factories, the Cathedral, in spite of the Red Cross flag, 
was struck by 8-in. shells, which damaged the outside sculptures of the 
lower windows of the main transept, smashing the 13th and 14th century 
stained-glass. Splinters of stone killed a French gendarme and two wounded 
Germans in the lower part of the south nave. 

On the 19th, the bombardment was intensified. The Town Hall, Museum, 
hospitals (including that of the Girls' High School), the south side of the 
Cathedral and the Archbishop's Palace were all hit. Towards noon, incendiary 
shells were rained on the centre oi the town. 

At about 4 p.m., a shell fired the wooden scaffolding round the north-west 
tower which had been under repair since 1913. The fire spread quickly 
to the roof, the molten lead from which set fire to the straw in the nave. 

(15 Rue de I' University) 



In spite of a rescue party, who risked their lives in getting out the wounded, 
a dozen of the German wounded perished in the flames. The conflagration 
spread to the Archbishop's Palace, from which it was impossible to remove 
the tapestries or the prehistoric Roman and Gothic collections. The Pro- 
testant Church, the Offices of the Controller of silk and woollen cloths, and 
the Colbert barracks along the eastern boulevards were burnt. Everywhere 
new centres caught fire, and nearly thirty-five acres of buildings were 
destroyed. On the 20th, the bombardment continued with equal violence, 
then after a respite of two days began again. Of the Place Royale and the 
Rue Colbert nothing remained but a heap of ruins. 

(Boulevard Lundy) 



On November 1 the number of civilians killed by shell fire had increased 
to 282. 

From September 14, 1914, to the beginning of June, 1915, the town never 
remained more than four days without being shelled. Up to the end of 
November, 1914, the shells rarely went beyond the Cathedral and the theatre, 
falling mostly in the suburbs of Ceres and Laon. On November 22, the 
suburb of Paris was struck, and from that time onwards there was no security 
for the inhabitants in any quarter of the city. 

As it would take too long to recount all the bombardments, only the most 
terrible ones are here mentioned. On November 26, 1914, the German 
guns fired all day, one shell alone killing twenty-three patients in the 
Hospital for Incurables. On the night of February 21 and on February 22, 
1915, more than 1,500 shells fell in the town, killing twenty civilians, setting 
on fire a score of houses and piercing the vaulting of the Cathedral. 

The Cathedral is seen at the end of the afreet. 


On March 8, terrifying fires broke out again. On April 29 and July 20 
more than 500 shells, many of them incendiary, were counted. In April, 1916, 
more than 1,200 projectiles struck the diiferent quarters of the town in one 
day. On August 13, whilst the town was being bombarded, seven German 
aeroplanes dropped incendiary bombs, which burnt the Hotel Dieu Hospital. 
On October 25, the Germans fired more than 600 shells into Rheims and 
more than 1,000 on the 27th. 

On April 1, 1917, more than 2,800 shells fell in the town, and on the 4th, 
2,121. According to the Official Communique, on the night of the 5th and 
on Good Friday, the number of shells was 7,500. Easter-Day was likewise 
terrible. On April 15, 19 and 24 the town received large numbers of 


! deia 

tl Sous-Prefecture . 


Part of the striking-points of the shells which fell around the Cathedral, as noted by the 
architect of the latter (if. Sainsaulieu). The shells which struck the Cathedral icere far too 
numerous to allow all of them to be shown on the above plan 


8-in.,12-in. and 15-in. shells. On May 3 the Town Hall and 108 houses were 
burnt. On the 4th the fires spread to fifteen neighbouring streets. 

From April 8 to the 15th the enemy rained incendiary shells on the 
town without respite, and completed their work of destruction, in the course 
of the afternoon of the 21st, by burning the centre of the town. Hardly any- 
body was left in the latter, except the firemen, who, despite their prodigious 
activity and valour, were unable to cope with the flames. 

Whole streets, often the finest, were burnt down, more than 700 houses 
being destroyed. 

When, on October 5, the Germans retreated, the havoc caused by this 
continual bombardment was incalculable. Of the town's 14,000 houses, 
only about sixty were immediately habitable when the people came back. 

In addition to the material losses, there were, unfortunately, numerous 
irreparable artistic and archa3ological losses. 

Life in Bombarded Rheims 

Although there were short respites, it may be said that for four years 
Rheims led the life of a besieged town, under the fire of the German guns and 
howitzers. The enemy increased the calibre of their shells and varied their 
modes cf bombardment, sometimes firing. for a few hours, sometimes all day 



ND.-The Cathedral. 
PR. Place Royale. 

D. H6tel de la Douane. 
SG.-Socie^e' G&ie'rale Bank. 

P. General Post Office. 

J. Palais de Justice. 

T. Theatre. 

M. Museum. 
GH.- Grand Hdtel. 

LO. H6tel du Lion d'Or. 
PA. Archi-episcopal Palace. 

A. The Cardinal's House. 
EP. Professional School for Young Ladies. 
SP. Sub-Prefecture. 
PG. Place Godinot. 

L. Lyce'e. 

C. Colbert Barracks. 





long at the rate of one shell every three 
minutes, or again at night. Sometimes 3-in. 
shells would be used, at others "Jack John- 
sons " of 8-in., 12-in. and 15-in. calibre; some- 
times all four at the same time. Both 
explosive and incendiary shells were used, 
while aeroplane bombs, darts and asphyxi- 
ating gas were resorted to occasionally. 
Public holidays were the occasion of the 
fiercest bombardments, in the hope of 
increasing the number of victims. For 
instance, the shelling was particularly mur- 
derous on All Saints' Day of 1914, when 
the eastern and southern cemeteries (gener- 
ally crowded on this day) were especially 
aimed at. Easter Monday of 1916 and Good 
Friday of 1917 were similarly favoured. 

After each check at Verdun, in Cham- 
pagne, on the Somme or wherever it might 
be the Germans revenged themselves on 
Bheims. In this way the Cathedral was 
fired by incendiary shells after the defeat on 
the Marne in 1914. The awful fires of 
February 22 and March 8, 1915, were 

THE FIRST AND SECOND STORIES the German reply to their set-backs in 

Champagne and Argonne. The Hotel Dieu 
hospital was burnt down in August, 1916, 
the day after the Franco-British attack on 
the yomme. The Town Hall was reduced 
to ashes on May 3, 1917, after the 
mgmm French offensive on the Champagne 
hills. For the same reason the bom- 
bardments reached their maximum 
of intensity in April and May, 1918, 
i.e. after the enemy had lost all hope 
of crushing the Allies and taking 

At the beginning of the siege the 
population took refuge in the south- 
western districts, which were not as 
yet bombarded, but on and after 
November 22, 1914, when the 
German shells reached the suburb of 
Paris, a large number of the inhabi- 
tants left the town. 

In February, 1915, the exodus 
began again, but at the end of May 
in that year there were still some 
26,000 people in the town. In 
February, 1917, after twenty-eight 
months of bombardment, there 
remained 17,100 people, or 100,000 
fewer than in 1914. At the begin- 
ning of April in that year, the mayor 
THE EFFECT OF AN 8-iN. SHELL IN THE and later the sub-prefect, requested 
PREMISES OF " LA MUTUALiTE," IN all those who were not prevented 
THE RUE DES ELUS (SEPT. 8, 1915) by their duties to leave the town. 


This invitation not having the desired effect, the military authorities, in 
view of the increased intensity of the bombardment and the imminence 
of the French offensive, announced that they could not guarantee food 
supplies for the town, and decided that the civil population must leave not 
later than April 10. The evacuation was effected by carts and motor- 
vehicles to Epernay, where trains awaited the people. 

A part of the inhabitants returned to Rheims after the French offen- 
sive of April-May, but for a few months only, as, in February, 1918, the 
coming German offensive compelled the civil population again to leave the 

During the thirty-one months, during which a considerable portion of the 
population persisted in staying in Rheims (September, 1914, to April, 1917), 
life and work went on in the bombarded city, the people adapting themselves 
courageously to their precarious existence and to the danger. They were 
supplied with helmet and gas masks, like the soldiers. Shell and bomb-proof 
shelters were organised, and the cellars, with which the city abounds, became 
the people's ordinary dwellings. The Town Council, with the exception of a few 
members who left on the approach of the enemy, remained at the Town Hall 
until it was destroyed, then installed themselves in a cellar, under the constant 
chairmanship of the Mayor, Dr. Langlet. The services rendered by the 
latter during these trying tunes were such that the French Premier decorated 
him personally in November, 1914, with the Croix de la Legion d'Honneur. 
The General Post Office had to change its quarters several times; but 
until the complete evacuation of the town the postmen went their rounds 

The Courts of Justice were set up in the cellars of the Palais-de-Justice. 

The archbishop, Mgr. Lugon, was absent from Rheims in 1914, being 
retained in Rome by the Council. As soon as the latter was ended, he 




returned to Rheims and thereafter, like his coadjutor, Mgr. Neveux, and the 
unmobilized clergy, he remained at his post until the evacuation of April, 
1917. The Cathedral architect, M. Sainsaulieu, who, like Mgr. Lu9on, 
has been made a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, remained constantly 
at his post, repairing from day to day, as well as might be, the damage 
caused to the Cathedral, and saving the art treasures spared by the German 

The firemen, reinforced in March, 1915, by thirty two of their comrades 
from Paris, devoted themselves, at the risk of their lives, to fighting the 
flames caused by the bombardments. Unfortunately, their courage and 
devotion were often unequal to their task. , For instance, twenty-two 
separate fires occurred on the night of February 22, 1915. Their task was 
rendered still more difficult by the fact that the Germans often fired 
on the burning buildings to drive off the men who were trying to save 

On July 6, 1917, the President of the French Republic fittingly acknow- 
ledged the magnificent bravery of the firemen by personally decorating 
their flag with the Croix de la Legion d'Honneur. At the same time he 
conferred this dignity on the city (see p. 2). 

After remaining closed for several weeks, the schools re-opened. Until 
then, the children had been too much in the streets looking for aluminium 
fuses of shells, out of which they made rings, or for scraps of stained-glass 
t'rom the broken windows of the Cathedral. The first school, called the 
" Maunoury " school, was installed, on December 7, 1914, in a wine cellar 
of the firm Pommery, Boulevard Henri-Vasnier, near the Rond-Point St. 
Nicaise. On January 22, 1915, the " Joffre " school was opened in the 
cellars of Messrs. Mumm, 24 Rue du Champ-de-Mars. Then came the 
" Albert I." school, in the cellars of Messrs. Krug, 5 Rue Coquebert, and the 
" Dubail " school in those of Messrs. Champion, Place St. Nicaise. In 
addition to the underground schools, open-air classes were conducted. The 
underground schools, in which the teaching staff, exclusively voluntary, lived 
permanently, together with the school- children and their relatives, were 
situated in the most exposed and frequently bombarded districts. The 
" Dubail " school was struck three times : on March 6, 1915 (by an 8-in. 
shell), and on March 25 and October 25, 1916. Luckily there were no 

The schools were quite close to the enemy lines, the distance varying from 
about two-thirds of a mile to a mile and a half. 

In 1915 and 1916, the examinations for the "Elementary School Certifi- 
cate" took place in July, as usual. In 1915, the ceremony of the Annual 
Prize Distribution, which had not taken place at Rheims for ten years, 
was restored, the book -prizes for the pupils coming from every corner of 

The victualling of the town, thanks to the co-operation between the 



Municipal arid Military Authorities, was effected with regularity. There 
was never any shortage of bread. The butchers' and grocers' shops remained 
open. The milk-women and hawkers donned their helmets and continued 
to push their carts through the streets. The market-women remained at 
their stalls. The nuns of St. Vincent-de-Paul, whose convent had been largely 
destroyed, ensured the service of cheap meals, organised by the Municipality 
for the poor. The undaunted inhabitants had their daily paper (" L'Eclaireur 
de VEst "), edited by M. Dramas, a courageous journalist, whose printing- 
house was early wrecked by shell-fire, but who continued almost single- 
handed to issue his paper. 





(pp. 28 to 120) 

THE CATHEDRAL (pp. 28 to 60) 

FIRST ITINERARY (pp. 61 to 94) 

The Archi-episcopal Palace, Museum, Church of St. Jacques, Prome- 
nades, Town Hall, Place Royale, Musicians' House, Mars Gate, 
Faubourg Ceres, Church of St. Andre, Palais-de-Justice, etc. 

SECOND ITINERARY (/,/,. 95 to 120 

The Lycee, Abbey of St. Pierre-les-Dames, Rue Barbatre, Church of 
St. Maurice, Church of St. Remi, Hdtel-Dieu Hospital, etc. 



The Cathedral 

The Cathedral of Rheims, which Charles VIII. declared to be "pre- 
eminent among all the churches of the kingdom," and which a local poet in 
the reign of Louis XIII. extolled above the seven wonders of the world, is 
one of the most beautiful Gothic churches extant. 

Few edifices combine such grandeur, simplicity and grace ; still fewer, its 
characteristic unity and symmetry. 

The work of at least four architects, the building operations extended 
over two centuries, yet it has retained rare unity both of plan and style. 
The whole is so harmonious as to give the impression of being the effort of a 
single master-mind. 

Historical Account 

The Cathedral stands on the site of former churches, successively erected 
between the 5th and 13th centuries. On the night of May 6, 1210, a terrible 
fire destroyed the then existing edifice, together with a portion of the city. 



Exactly one year later, Archbishop Aubri de Humbert laid the first stone 
of a new edifice, which was destined to become the Cathedral of to-day. 

Begun in 1211, the building went on without pause for twenty years, 
after which there was a slackening, followed by a vigorous resumption in 
1299. Another pause occurred during the Hundred Years' War. The 
Cathedral, less the tower spires provided for in the plans, was finished in 1428. 
The spires were not yet built when the great fire of July 24th, 1481, entirely 
destroyed the roof of the Cathedral, further deferring their construction, 
which was subsequently abandoned. 

The funds for this colossal work were furnished partly by the clergy and the 
people, partly by Papal Indulgences granted to donors, and by collections in 
Christian lands, especially in the ecclesiastical province of Rheims. The 
wonderful plans of the Cathedral were long believed to be the work of Robert de 
Coucij, whereas the original ones were in fact drawn by Jean d'Orbais, who 
began their execution between 1211 and 1231. His work was continued with 
wonderful fidelity by Jean-le-Loup, from 1231-1247 ; by Gaucher of Rheims 
in 1247-1255, Bernard of Soissons from 1255 to 1290, Robert de Coucy until 
1311, and afterwards by Maitre Colard, Qilles le Macon, Jean de Dijon and 
Colard de Givry in the course of the 14th and 15th centuries. 



In the 17th and 18th centuries only repairs rendered necessary by the 
wear of the stone were effected. In the 19th century, beginning in 1845, 
important restorations, principally by Viollet-Ie-Duc, were carried out with 

The Cathedral's approximate measurements are 480 feet long (it is the 
longest church in France), and 160 feet wide at the intersection of the transept.. 
The vaulting, less lofty than that at Beauvais (156 feet) and Amiens (143 feet), 
is 123 feet in height. The towers are six in number (as in the cathedral at 
Laon), of which the four situated at the extremities of the transept have 
never had more than one storey. The principal towers are about 266 feet 
in height, or about 60 feet higher than those of Notre-Dame in Paris. 

The plan of the Cathedral is in shape a Latin cross, with radiating chapels. 
It is built entirely of stone from the neighbourhood of Rheims. Forty 
pillars support the vaults, which are further sustained by fifty buttresses. 
Three great doorways and eight secondary doors give access to the interior, 
which is lighted by a hundred windows and rose-windows; 2,303 figures of 
all sizes decorate the exterior and interior. 



The Cathedral During the War 

In revenging themselves on Rheims for their disappointments and failures, 
the Germans seem to have been particularly determined to destroy the building 
which is at once one of the most precious artistic treasures of France and one 
of the most ancient evidences of her history. In 1814 the then Allies bom- 
barded Rheims but respected the Cathedral. It is true that there were 
(Germans who found fault with this respectful forbearance. One of them, 
Johann Joseph Goeres, author of a voluminous work entitled " Christian 
Mysticism, 7 ' dared to write hi April, 1814 : " Destroy, reduce to ashes, this 
Rheims basilica, where Chlodovic was consecrated, and where was born that 
empire of the Franks, those turncoat brothers of the noble Germans ; burn the 
Cathedral." In the course of the recent war the Germans followed the 
vindictive advice of Goeres, although, less frank than he, they did not dare, 
in face of the indignation of Christendom and of the whole world, boast of 
their vandalism. 

By way of excuse they alleged sometimes errors in firing, sometimes 
that the French had established a battery of artillery near the Cathedral 
and an observation- post in one of the towers (a projector was installed on 



the Cathedral, on September 13, 1914, i.e. the day that the French re-entered 
Rheims, and it remained there only one night). 

On November 9, 1914, General Rouquerol declared to the French Govern- 
ment, who had demanded an enquiry, that the nearest battery to the Cathedral 
was at that time more than 1,200 yards away ; that on the day (September 
19) the Cathedral was set on fire by the German shells, the nearest French 
batteries were still quite close to the spot occupied by the above-mentioned 
battery, whose position the French Premier verified personally. The 
General concluded that the German artillery could not have made an error 
of 1,200 yards in firing, but that they had deliberately aimed at the 

The Cathedral, though terribly shattered, is still standing. The description 
of the edifice (pp. 33 to 60) gives particulars of the damage and destructions 
which occurred principally in September, 1914, April, 1917, and July, 1918. 

On September 19, 1914, incendiary shells set fire to various portions 
of the building. The roof was burnt, but the vaulting escaped injury. The 
tambours of the side doors and the statues on the latter were destroyed by 
the flames. The 18th century stalls, consecration carpet of Charles X. 
and archi- episcopal throne were likewise burnt. The great rose-window of 
the western fa9ade, together with several other stained-glass windows, were 
destroyed, as were also the "Angel" steeple and its caryatids above the 
chevet. The northern tower was seriously injured by the burning of the 
scaffolding around it (see photo, p. 9). The statues were eaten into by the 
flames and subsequently crumbled away, some of them being irrecoverably 

In 1915 and 1916 the Cathedral was struck a hundred times, but it was 
during the bombardments of April 15, 19 and 24, 1917, that it suffered 
most. For seven consecutive hours, at the rate of twelve per hour, the Germans 
fired 12 in., 14-in. and 15-in. shells on the edifice, causing terrible havoc, 
especially to the south-western side. 

During the terrible bombardments of April, 1918, the Cathedral did not 
suffer for once the Germans seemed to have decided to spare it ; but, 
unfortunately, the truce did not last. In the following months the bombard- 
ment began again, and the ravages increased, especially in the two towers 
and the vaulting. However, both vaulting and towers, in spite of their 
injuries, have not been irreparably damaged in their vital parts, and are 
capable of restoration. 

That the damage is not more serious is due to the protective measures 
taken by the Cathedral architect and by the Department of Historical Monu- 
ments. As early as 1915, the doorways of the western fa9ade were protected 
with beams and sand-bags (see photo, p. 25), while the Treasure was removed 
and placed in safety, together with the paintings and tapestries. 

In 1916 and following years masonry protections were placed around 
some of the more valuable statues. The fallen fragments of carvings and 
sculpture were carefully collected, with a view to future restoration. In 
this way the debris of the head of the beautiful statue of the " Visitation " 
Group, known as the " Smile of Rheims," on the left-hand side of the central 
doorway of the western fa9ade, were saved. 

* At the beginning of 1918, it was found possible to save the remains ot 
the stained-glass of the windows, and other glass-work still intact amongst 
which was some of the finest in the nave. The salvage was difficult, for 
scaffolding would have furnished the Germans with an excuse for further 
bombardments. Recourse was had to a small body of Paris firemen and 
two glaziers who, in foggy weather, and before daybreak, climbed up to 
the iron frame-work of the windows and accomplished their work at great 
heights with remarkable courage and skill. 

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1. Staircase of the Towers. 

2. Site of the Labyrinth (p. 53). 

3. Main Pulpit (p. 53). 

4. Site of " La Rouelle de Saint- 

Nicaise " (Flag-stone with 
memorial inscription) (p. 53). 

5. Pillar supporting the " Vintage 

Scene " (p. 52). 

6. Altar of the Rear Choir (p. 57). 

7. 14th century Tombstones (p. 53). 

8. Tomb of Cardinal de Lorraine. 


flan of Cathedral 

Archi- episcopal Falace 

9, The Treasure (p. 58). 

10. Clock with Automatons (p. 55). 

11. Tombstone of Hughes Libergier 

(p. 55). 

12. Norman Door (p. 45). 

13. Great Organ (p. 55). 

14. Lady Chapel (p. 55). 

15. Chapel of the Holy Sacrament 

(p. 56). 

16. Rosary Chapel (p. 57). 

17. Roman Mosaic (p. 57). 

West Facade 

(See full views on pp. 28 and 29). 

Better than any other, this part of the building reveals the desire for 
unity and harmony which guided the various builders of the Cathedral. 
The doorway, probably designed by Jean d'Orbais, was very likely not begun 
till about 1250. by Gaucher, of Rheims. Bernard of Soissons built the 
great rose- window and the fa9ade as far as the Gallery of the Kin r _s. The 
architects of the 14th century built the lateral parts forming the first storey 
of the towers, the Kings' Gallery and the gable. The upper storey of the 
towers was only finished in the 15th century. Except for slight modifications 
in detail, the original plan was i espected. This facade, with its full open-work 
towers and immense rose-window, demonstrates that the architects knew 
how to obtain the maximum of resistance with wonderfully light construction. 

The Western Doorway (photo belmv) comprises three doors flanked by 
two full arcades, and surmounted by gables adorned with statues. 

Between the gables are pinnacles on small columns (the left-hand ones 
have been destroyed). At the foot of the pinnacles are statues of seated 
musicians, which recall those on the house in the Rue de Tambour (see p. 
80). but which have been partly destroyed. 

The splaying of the doors is adorned with great statues backed up against 
columns and separated by smaller columns, the capitals of which are con- 
nected to a foliate frieze of elegant design. The bases are ornamented with 
carved drapery. The tympana of the doors contain window-lights, while 
five rows of statues, separated by lines of flowers and foliage, fill up the arch- 
ings, which suffered severely in the bombardment of September 19, 1914. 
About a dozen subjects were destroyed or spoilt. During the subsequent 
bombardments, shell splinters did further damage. 



Generally the sculptural decoration on the ground -floor dates from the 
middle of the 13th century. 

In September, 1914, several of the great statues of the lateral splayings 
were completely destroyed and the others more or less seriously damaged. 
However, subsequent damage was slight, thanks to the protective measures 
taken in 1915. 

Central Door 

The lavish decoration of the central door suffered mutilations during the 
last three centuries. The inscription carved on the lintel dates from 1802 and 
replaced carving descriptive of the life of the Virgin, destroyed during the 
Revolution. The sculpture on the arches, especially that of the three upper 
lines, was partly restored in the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The beautiful statues in the splayings of the door represent : to the right 
(photo, p. 36), the Annunciation and Visitation (the latter group is striking 
by reason of its inspiration from the antique) ; to the l(fl, the Purification 
(photo, p. 36). 

The Virgin of the Annunciation group was damaged by shell splinters 
on September 4, 1914. 


THE WAR (Cliche LL.) 


The Annunciation. The Visitation. 


In the gable, a pretty group representing the Coronation of the Holy 
Virgin was injured by the fires of 1914. 

Of the two fine statues on the top of the buttresses framing the Central 
door, only the right-hand one (Solomon) exists to-day ; the other, repre- 
senting the Queen of Sheba, was destroyed by a shell in September, 1914, 
except the head, which was saved. 



The Right-Hand Door 

See photograph on p. 25. 

On the lintel, Saint Paul, blind, is being led to Ananias, who restores 
his sight and baptizes him. 

On the jambs are pretty little figures which have been variously inter- 
preted. The majority represent vices and virtues, e.g. on the inner portion : 
Courage, in knightly raiment ; Cowardice fleeing before a hare ; Charity 
holding out a purse ; Avarice with a cash-box ; on the outer portion : Pride 
blasted and overthrown with his horse ; Sloth, represented as a man seated 
with his head resting on his elbows, in a stall ; Wisdom seated, holding a book 
and a lighted lamp. On the same jambs other figures are supposed to symbolise 
the seasons: Autumn sitting on a vine-trellis; Winter standing before a 
tire place ; Spring in the midst of flowers ; Summer with bared chest. 

The tico central figures have been decapitated. 

The six statues in the splaying on the right (photo above) represent : the 
aged Simeon holding Christ in his arms; John the Baptist, Isaiah, Moses 
with the brazen serpent and the tables of the Law ; Abraham about to sacrifice 
Isaac ; Samuel carrying a lamb (which has been broken). They differ by 
their more archaic style from the other sculptures of the lower facade and 
closely resemble those of the central door of the north transept of the Cathedral 
of Chartres. Like the latter, they date without doubt from the beginning 
of the 13th century. Possibly they belonged to an earlier doorway, or were 
prepared in advance for a purpose not realised, being finally utilised- in the 
place where they now stand. 

The Last Judgment, in tin- gable, was severely damaged by shell splinters. 


The Left-Hand Door 

This door, on account of the scaffolding which surrounded it, was seriously 
damaged by the fires of September, 1914 (see p. 17). 

On the lintel is Saint Paul, thrown from his hoi s? at the pates of Damascus. 
On the outside of the jambs, fourteen seated figures meditating, are supposed 
by some to be embodiments of the arts and sciences, but represent more 
probably prophets or teachers. Along the splayings are eleven statues, 
which have not definitely been identified. 

In the left-hand splaying is Saint Nicaise between two angels. The 
right-hand angel, generally known as the " Smile of Rheims," was decapitated 
on September 19, 1914. Fortunately, the fragments of the head of this 
fine statue were saved. 

The sculptures in the archings depict scenes from the Passion, while the 
group which adorns the gable represents The Crucifixion. 

These archings and gable were greatly damaged by the fires of Septem- 
ber 19, 1914; and the bombardments. 


The headless uwjcl on the left against the door -was known the "Smile <\f Wn imt," 



St. Xicawe (between tiro anyelx) and St. Clotilda. The angel on the right, knmcn an the "Smile 
of Kite! in*," tt-iix decapitated. (See photo, p. 38.) Cliche LL. 

(Cliche LL.) 



The First Storey 

In the centre is the great rose-window, best seen from the interior of the 
nave. The stained -glass is broken. On either side, against the arching 
which surmounts it, were two large statues. One of them, David as a youth 
in shepherd's garb (also known as the Pilgrim), was destroyed by the 
bombardments. The other very fine statue is variously said to be Saul, 
Solomon and <S^. James. 

The arching which begins above these statues was adorned with small 
groups of figures representing scenes from the life of Solomon. Most of them 
were destroyed at the same time as the Filgrim statue. 

Above the arching, a gigantic statue (twice restored) represents David 
challenging Goliath. The bombardments of 1914 destroyed a similar 
statue on the left representing David slaying Goliath with a stone from his 

The first storey of the towers flanking the rose-window is broken by lofty 
twin bays crowned with gables. The niches and pinnacles of the buttresses 
are identical with those of the nave, but the style of their decoration denotes 
a more recent period (early 14th century). 

The northern tower was badly damaged by the bombardment of Sep- 
tember 19, 1914, which fired the scaffolding around it (see photo, p. 9). 
Two of the pinnacled niches surmounting the buttresses were decapi- 
tated, while the flames completely disfigured the statues, including that 
of Christ. 

A large calibre shell burst in the southern tower on April 19, 1917, 
causing very serious damage. 



The Second Storey 

The second storey comprises a series of niches, surmounted by sharply 
pointed gables and adorned with gigantic statues, known as the Kings' 

The central group, consisting of seven figures, commemorates the Baptism 
of Clovis. Clovis, standing in the baptismal font between Saint Remi, 
receiving the Sacred Ampulla, and Clotilda. 

The balcony in front of the Baptism of Clovis was formerly called the 
Gloria Gallery, as it was the custom for the choir-boys to sing the Gloria 
there on Palm Sunday. 

The Upper Portion of the Towers 

The upper storey of the towers, built on an octagonal plan, is flanked 
with four open-work turrets> one of which contains stairs leading to the 

The northern tower, badly damaged by the fire of 1914, lost several of 
the fine colonnettes of its corner turrets in 1918. 

In the same year, the pierced staircase of the southern tower was almost 
entirely destroyed. 

At the time of the last restorations, the foundations of the spires provided 
for in the original plans, but which have never been built, were laid. 

In the belfry of the northern tower are two magnificent deep-toned bells. 
One of them is modern and was cast at Le Mans, and blessed in 1849 by 
Cardinal Gousset. The other, one of the finest bells known, and presented 
to the church in 1570 by Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, is the work of the 
Rheims metal-founder, Pierre Deschamps. 

The scaffolding fire of 1914 reached the belfry, bringing down the bells, 
which were broken in the fall. 


The Lateral Facades and Chevet 

The lateral fa9ades of the Cathedral are of rare beauty Nowhere have 
abutments and flying buttresses been so harmoniously employed as here. 
They are not merely supports, but form part of the decorative scheme of the 
nave, and ensure the harmony of the whole. Buttresses, finished off with 
pinnacles, serve as points of support for two superimposed flying-buttresses. 
The octagonal pinnacles are flanked with four small triangular pyramids 
and supported in front by two slender detached columns. Between the latter, 
under canopies, angels with outstretched wings carry the instruments of 
the Passion and various other emblems (see pho r o, p. 49). 

Skirt the Cathedral on the left, passing in front of the North Facade (see photo 
beloiv], to reach the Northern Transept. 

The Northern Facade and Transept 

The transept is pierced with broad bays, whose completion, as in all the 
windows of the Cathedral, consists of two twin arches surmounted by a six- 
leaved rose. The niches in the buttresses are ornamented with statues 
believed by some to represent Kings of France. At any rate, that of the 
buttress on the western fro t of the north-west tower greatly resembles 
the figure of St. Louis carved on the doorway of the church of St. Vincent at 

The carvings of the lower windows were either destroyed or damaged 
on September 19, 1914, at the same time as the stained-glass. The two 
towers which flank the crossings were left unfinished. 

Before the fire of 1481, there was a lantern over the intersection of the 

The Central Door of the Northern Transept 

The sculptural decoration, while rich, is more sober than that of the 
doorway of the western fa9ade. It is commemorative of the glory of the 
Archbishops of Rheims. 

The statue of the Pontiff with a tiara, backing up to the dividing-pillar, 
is supposed to be that of St. Sixtus, first Bishop of Rheims. In the splaying, 
on the left, is St Nicaise holding his head in his hands, between St Eutropia. 
an angel and a figure improbably said to be Clovis, 

The pediment was pierced by a shell and scarred with splinters. It is 
divided into five tiers, and represent the life of St. Remi and St. Nicaise 

Beginning at the bottom, the figures represent : on the first tier, the 
beheading of St. Nicaise by the Vandals and the Baptism of Clovis by 
St. Remi ; on the second, St. Remi, as a child, restores sight to Montanus 
and, as a man, exorcises the demons who had set fire to Rheims ; on the third, 
the story of Job ; on the fourth, the restoring to life of a young Toulouse 
girl, and the miracle of the cask filled with wine by St. Remi; on the fifth, 
Christ between two angels. 


The dead rise from their graves. 

The Left-Hand Door of the Northern Transept 

This door, which has long been walled up, is called The Doorway of the 
Last Judgment, on account of the carving on the tympanum. 

In the upper part, Christ is supported on one side by the Holy Virgin, 
and on the other by John the Baptist. Below (two rows) the dead rise from 
their graves (photo above). Lower down, on one side are The Virtues, repre- 
sented by seated women ; on the other, The Vices, mutilated in 1780 on 
account of their realism. On the lowest tier, to the left, angels carry souls to 
Abraham's bosom ; on the right, Satan leads a chain of damned souls to Hell 
(photo below), amongst whom are a king, a bishop, and a monk. 

In the arching 
and the wise and 

are three rows of angels carrying books or blowing trumpets, 
foolish virgins. 

Backing up to the dividing pillar is an exceedingly fine 13th century 
statue, which recalls the '' Beautiful God " of Amiens Cathedral (see the 
Michelin Guide : Amiens Before and During the War) ; Jesus blessing with 
His right hand, holds the globe of the world in His left (see photo p. 45). 

This statue was decapitated by a shell which struck the doonvay in 1918, 
also taking off tha head of the first statue on the left-hand portion of the 


Satan drags a chain of damned Soicls to Hell. 


On the plinth of the dividing pillar is a bas- 
relief, remarkable for its delicate carving. 

According to local tradition, this plinth was erected 
at the expense of a dishonest master-draper, convicted 
of selling by false measure. 

On the left, the merchant is seen in his shop. In 
front of the counter, customers of both sexes look at 
the outspread stuffs, while clerks write in books. 

On the right, the merchant kneels before a statue of 
the Vi gin in penance. 

Near-by, burgesses talk together and seem to 
judge the delinquent's conduct severely. 

The six statues against the walls represent the 
apostles : on the, right, St. John, St James and St. 
Paul ; on the left, St. Andrew, St. Peter and St. 

The rose is carved in a voussoir ; the uprights are 
decorated with statues of Adam and Eve in long 
tunics, and the arch with twenty-two groups of small 
figures depicting, from left to right, the story of Adam 
and Eve, the various tasks to which they and their 
descendants were condemned, and the story of Cain 
and Abel. 


The statue of Christ 
was decapitated by a 

On the plinth is the 
legend of the Master- 
draper (gee text oppo- 

Above the rose an open-work gallery contains 

seven statues of the prophets. The statues are 13th century, but the 
gallery was restored in 1846. 

The balustrading and triangular gable flanked with pinnacles, which 
dominate the gallery, date from the beginning of the 16th century, but have 
been repaired in recent times. On the gable is a colossal Annunciation j 
the Archangel and Mary are under Flamboyant canopies. 

The Right-Hand Door of the Northern Transept (Norman Door) 

This little door formerly connected, by means of a vaulted passage, the 
Cathedral with the Cloister (no longer existing) of the Chapter. 

Its tympanum is a relic of the Cathedral built by Archbishop Samson. 
It depicts, in beautiful Romanesque relief, a majestic Virgin. The archivolt 
which frames it, doubtless belonged to a 12th century tomb. At the top of 
the arch, angels carry away a soul, while on the uprights, clerks officiate at 
a funeral service. 


The Chevet 

(See photograph of Cathedral, taken from aeroplane, p. 30.) 

The Chevet, begun by Jean D'Orbais and finished by Jean Le Loup, 
was inaugurated by the Chapter about 1241. It is one of the finest 13th 
century chevets in existence. 

It is stayed by two rows of buttresses supporting double flying-buttresses. 
Like those of the nave, the buttresses are surmounted with pinnacles, beneath 
which niches shelter statues of flying angels. 

One of the finest 13th century Chevets. 

All around the apse, between the windows of the radial chapels and on 
the main buttresses, are statues of angels, some of them of great beauty. 

The 13th century clerestory gallery, which surrounds the upper portion 
of the apsidal chapels, was restored by Viollet-le-Duc. It was partially 
destroyed by the bombardments On April 19, 1917, three large calibre 
shells, which burst on the chevet, destroyed forty to fifty feet of it. At the 
same time, the buttress jutting on the centre of the destroyed gallery lost its 
pinnacle, and behind, an arch of the flying-buttress. The buttresses between 
the above-mentioned one and the corner of the South Transept Tower lost 
either a colonnette or their pinnacle with angel statue. 


The slender spire which, before the War, rose above the chevet, was known 
as the Angel Spire, on account of a bronze angel which surmounted it, and 
which was removed in 1860 as unsafe This spire, the work of Colard le 
Moine, was built in 1485, after the fire of 1481. Its pierced base with 
balustrading was supported by eight leaden caryatids, some of which, in 
the popular costume of the Louis XI. period, became deformed in consequence 
of the rotting of their oaken core. 

The fire of September 19, 1914, caused by the German shells, entirely 
destroyed the spire and its caryatids. 


The roof icith the " Angel Spire " was destroyed. 

The bombardments in the spring of the following year further damaged 
the gallery, also causing fresh mutilations to the flying buttresses and the 
pinnacles of the apse. 

A plain stone gallery with blind arcading, which formerly ran round the 
r-hevet on a level with the springing of the roof, was replaced by Viollet-le- 
Duc, with pierced battlemented arcading. Part of the original gallery which 
surrounded the entire building, level with the roof, still exists on the northern 


On October 12, 1914, a shell destroyed about twenty five feet of the 
gallery round the chevet, which later was further damaged by another shell. 


The Lateral Fa9a.dc and South Transept 

This fagade and transept (which should be seen from the courtyard of the 
Archbishop's Palace) are identical, as a whole, with the northern fa9ade and 
transept (see pp. 28 and 42). 

The gallery at the springing of the roof of the nave was entirely rebuilt in 
1878 by Architect Millet, in a style foreign to that of the Cathedral. 

Among the statues of the transept buttresses that at the corner of the 
south-western tower, bestriding a lion, is thought by some to represent 
Pepin-the-Short, and another near him, Charlemagne. 


The fagade of the transept has no doorway. Above the lower storey, the 
architectural arrangement is the same as that of the northern transept. 
At the base of the rose-window, on each side, are two very fine statues. 

On the left, The Christian Religion, symbolised by a crowned woman 
with chalice and standard. This statue was destroyed by a German shell 
in 1918, after being damaged in April 1917. 

On the right, The Synagogue, with eyes bandaged and a crown on one 
side, was not seriously damaged. 


In consequence of the fire of 
1481, the gable of the South Tran- 
sept was rebuilt at the beginning 
of the 16th century by three 
master - masons, one of whom. 
Guichart Antoine, co - operated 
later with the building of Notre- 
Dame de I'Epine. (See the Miche- 
lin Guide : The Revigny Pass.) It 
was restored about 1888 in the 
original style. The subject sculp- 
tured on the pediment represents 
the Assumption of the Virgin. 

The Sagittarius which sur- 
mounted the gable was destroyed 
in 1914. It was a modern faithful 
copy of the old lead-covered wooden 
Sagittarius, which was carved, 
gilded and painted about 1503 by 
the Rheims sculptor, Jean Bour- 
camus. According to tradition, 
this Sagittarius, which appeared to 
be shooting its arrow at the bronze 
stag of the archi -episcopal palace, 
symbolised the rivalry between the 
Archbishop and the Chapter of the 

IN 1914 




See complete view on p. 52. 

The Inner Western Facade 

(See description of the Exterior on pp. 34 to 41.) 

This is a master-piece. Its sculptural decoration is unique, and as rich 
as that of the outer fa9ade. 

In the tympanum of the central door a sixteen -leaved rose-window, the 
stained-glass of which v/as made shortly before the Revolution, is faced with 
three small trefoil rose-windows. 

At the top of the dividing pillar St. Nicaise, headless, is between two 
angels and two armed men personifying the barbarians who killed him. 

The entire door, as far as the triforium, is framed by seven rows of super- 
imposed niches separated by panels of sculptured foliage. The basements are 
covered with figured drapery, as on the outside. In each niche, under a 
trefoil arcade, is a statue The subjects represented are, from bottom to top : 



on the. right : The Life of John the Baptist; on the left : The Fulfilment of 
the Prophecy and The Childhood of Christ. 

The first row on the right is known as "The Knight's Communion"; 
a priest offers the Host to a knight wearing 13th century armour, and turns 
his back on another knight clothed in a leathern Carolingian tunic with iron 
scales, and armed with a small round buckler. 

Above the door, a gallery with nine openings lights the triforium. 

On the highest storey, the great rose-window occupies the whole breadth 
of the nave. It is the masterpiece of Bernard de Soissons (see p. 40). 

In the form of a gigantic flower with twelve petals, each of the latter 
is sub-divided by quatrefoils and trefoil archings. Its harmonious grace- 
fulness and seeming lightness, in spite of the great thickness of its border 
(about 7 ft.), and mullions (about 2 ft. 6 in.), are very striking. 

The stained-glass, which, with the stonework, formed a harmonious whole, 
was restored in modern times. The subject represented was : The Virgin 
surrounded by angels, kings and patriarchs. 

The fire of 1914 destroyed the stained-glass. 

The side-doors have only a quatrefoil rose-window (see pp. 25 and 34), 
and their framework of niches consists only of four rows of two niches each. 
However, two lines of niches, in which are statues in demi -relief, form the 
contour of the arches which frame their top. 

The subjects of the sculptures are allied, in the case of each door, to those 
of the outer decoration, i.e. "The Life of St. Stephen." 

The wooden doors and their tambours were destroyed by the fire of 
September 19, 1914, which also disfigured or destroyed the statues framing 
them (see photos above). 


The Great Nave 

The fire of September 19, 1914, destroyed the framework of the Nave 
and its 15th century lead roof. In the following years a number of shells 
pierced the vaulting, without, hoAvever, damaging its vital parts. It will 
be possible to restore it. 

It seems to be clearly established that although the first four bays were 
built later than the others, the nave as a whole, like that of the Cathedral 
of Amiens, was completely finished before 1300 A.D. Vaulted throughout 
on diagonal ribs, the nave, which is perfectly regular, has three stories : 
the lowest, formed of great arches, rests on massive pillars ; the triforium, 
formed of two, four, five, or six arcades, extends round the entire building ; 
the high twin-bay windows are surmounted with a six-leaved rose-window. 
The pillars, which have been likened to a row of antique columns, are 
composed of a great cylindrical shaft, reinforced by four smaller engaged 
columns, standing on an octagonal base. The pillars which follow the first 

bay of the nave and carry one of the 
corners of the towers, as also the four 
pillars of the transept square, are more 

The capitals of the pillars and of the 
columns (photo opposite,) are most beauti- 
fully decorated. The dominating subject 
of their decoration is natural foliage (vine, 
oak, thistle, ivy, ranunculus, fig-tree). 
Occasionally, human or animal figures or 
monsters, and scenes from nature, i.e. the 
dainty Vintage scene on the capital of 
CAPITAL IN THE NAVE the sixth pillar on the right of the nave, 


are interspersed. The ornamenta- 
tion of the capitals of six pillars 
of the first bays is more elaborate 
and more recent in style. These 
capitals are not, like those of the 
other pillars, divided on the four 
flanking columns into two equal 
courses by an astragal, neither do 
they include, like some of the 
others, crockets, acanthus leaves 
and other conventional ornaments 
of an older and less realistic style. 

The 13th and 14th century 
stained-glass of the high windows 
represents, on two superimposed 
lines, figures of kings of France 
and archbishops of Rheims. Some 
of the glass was broken, but the 
finest was saved. 

In the third and fourth bays 
there was formerly a square 
Labyrinth! flanked at the corners 
by polygonal compartments. In 
the interior, a line of white tiles 
bordered with black stones ran 
from one side, and after compli- 
cated windings reached a central 
compartment. At the corners of 
the compartments were figures of 
the four first architects of the 
Cathedral : Jean d'Orbais, Jean 
le Loup, Gaucher of Rheims and 
Bernard of Soissons.- The central 
figure is probably that of Arch- 
bishop Aubri de Humbert, who 
laid the first stone of the edifice. 
This Labyrinth, the drawings of 
which revealed the names of the 
builders of the Cathedral, was 
destroyed in 1778 by the Chapter, 
to prevent the children playing 

Between the Labyrinth arid 
the Choir are about twenty 14th 
century tombstones. 

The great pulpit set up 

against the fifth left-hand pillar 
was made, in the time of Louis 
XV., by a Rheims artist (Blondel). 
It comes from the old church of 
St. Pierre-le-Vieil. 

In the sixth bay, just before 


In the foreground on the right : Corner of the 
Southern Transept. 


In the foreground, on the right : Corner of the 
Southern Transept. 


the entrance to the choir, the spot where St. Xicaise was beheaded, on Ihe 
threshold of his church, was formerly indicated by a small circular chapel 
known as La Rouelle de St. Nicaise. The tiny building was replaced by a 
memorial inscription on the flagstone, supposed to have been stained with 
the blood of the martyr. 

The Aisles of the Naves 

The windows of the Aisles are similar to the lofty windows of the nave. 
The walls were formerly hung with valuable tapestries, which were taken 
down and evacuated by the Historical Monuments Department at the out- 
break of the War. The two oldest, dating back to about 1440, and known 
as the tapestries of the fort roi Clovis, were presented by Cardinal Charles 
de Lorraine, and depict the history of Clovis. Those of the Renaissance, 
given in 1530 by Archbishop Robert de Lenoncourt, who caused himself 
to be portrayed kneeling in the picture of the Birth of Christ, depict 
the Life of the Virgin. The most modern, presented in 1640 by Arch- 
bishop Henri de Lorraine and worked by the Fleming, Daniel Pepersack, 
represent Jesus at the Marriage at Cana in Galilee and Jesus among the 

At the foot of the walls, three stone steps serve as seats. 



The Interior of the Northern Transept 

(See plan, p. 33, and the Exterior, p. 42.) 

The inner facade is partially 
hidden by the great organ, built 
about 1487 and transformed several 
times since then. Of the original 
organ the loft only remains, the 
Gothic balustrading of which is 
pierced with Flamboyant arcading. 

The fa?ade originally consisted 
of three lofty bays with lancet- 
shaped windows surmounted by a 
gallery lighted by three rose- 
windows of six lobes each and one 
of twelve lobes. The subsequent 
addition of a doorway about the 
middle of the 13th century caused 
the partial suppression of the bays, 
of which the transformed summits 
alone remain. 

Almost all the high windows 
of the transept contained 13th 
century grisaille glass, which was 
damaged or broken by the bom- 
bardments, as was also the 13th 
century stain^i-glass of the great 
rose-window (repaired in 1869), 
which represented The Story of the 
Creation and The Fall of Adam. 

The reverse side of the Central Door is bare, except the divid- 
ing pillar, the statue of which is hidden by the 18th century wooden 

The small western side-door, which formerly communicated Avith the 
cloister of the Chapter, is entirely covered with 18th century woodwork. 
The adjoining bay, closed in by a beautiful 13th century wrought-ironrailling. 
is the old chartulary or muniment room of the Chapter. Near the railing, 
in the corner of the transept, is a clock with automatons, which come out 
when the hours strike. Its woodwork is 14th and 15th century and its works 
17th and 18th century. 

To the right of the door of the organ stair, a tombstone to Hugues 
Libergier was set up against the wall. He was the architect who, in 1231, 
commenced the abbatial church of St. Xicaise. The tombstone has been 
ii the Cathedral since 1800. The altar in the Lady-Chapel, surmounted 
with a statue by Franyois Ladatte (1742), replaced a Gothic altar-screen 
cbstroyed in 1739. 

The picture The Washing of the Disciples' Feet is by Jerome 

On the western walls o c the transept is a fine tapestry, the pendant 
of which is in the south transept. These two great tapestries, 
made at the Gobelins, after cartoons by Raphael, represent the life 
of St. Paul. They were removed in 1914, at the same time as those in 
the aisles. 



The photo on p. 31 shows the collapse, seen from above. 

The Choir 

(See the Chevet, p. 46.) 

The ambulatory with its radiating chapels is of incomparable beauty. 
Excepting the larger central chapel, known as the Chapel of the Holy 
Sacrament, which is nine-sided, each chapel has seven sides rising from a 
circular floor. 

In each chapel, three windows similar to those of the nave, light the 
three hindmost walls. Blind windows imitate the true ones on the side walls. 

At the base of the windows a narrow gallery, passing through the pillars, 
continues all along the side-aisles of the transept and nave a peculiarity in 
Champagne architecture. 

The 13th century stained-glass of the high windows was destroyed by 
the bombardment of September 19, 1914. 

In April, 1917, part of the vaulting fell in on the High Altar (photo above). 

The costly marble High Altar was erected in 1747 by Canon Godinot, 
who spent considerable sums in making alterations to the Cathedral, not all 
of which were happy. Its six chandeliers date from the consecration of 
Charles X. 

The High Altar of the rear choir dates from 1764 and came from the 
Church of St. Nicaise. On either side of this altar are two 14th century 
tumulary stones. Behind is the tomb of Cardinal de Lorraine. 

The small pulpit of the rear choir, the medallions of which depict the 
life of St. Theresa, dates from 1678. It is a gift of the widow of M. Pommery 
(photo below). 

Twenty-two archbishops of Rheims were buried under the choir pavement. 
Their tombstones were removed in 1747. The present flag-stones came 
from the old church of St. Nicaise. 


The archbishop's throne, by Viollet-le-Duc, was destroyed by the fire of 
1914, together with the 18th century stalls. 

The railings (1826-1832) replaced, not very happily, an ancient stone 
rood-loft destroyed in 1761. 

The Interior of the Southern Transept 

(See plan, p. 33, and the Exterior, p. 47 ) 

A gap was made in the vaulting by the bombardment of April 19, 1917. 

The arrangement of the inner fa9ade is similar to that of the northern 
transept, except that the three high bays with lancet windows, which are 
partially hidden in the northern transept, are here entirely visible. 

The stained-glass of the rose-window, destroyed by a hurricane in 1580, 
was replaced in 1581 by the Rheims artist Nicolas Derode. It represents 
the Eternal Father surrounded by the twelve apostles. 

In the Rosary Chapel is a Renaissance altar-screen (1541), attributed to 
the Rheims sculptor Pierre Jacques. The general scheme represents The 
dead body of Christ on the knees of the Virgin, and above, Christ coming forth 
from the sepulchre. It was a gift of Canon Paul Grandraoul, who is shown 
on his knees before Mary Magdalene. 

The Roman mosaic work in the centre of the chapel was discovered in 
the courtyard of the archbishop's palace in 1849. Among the most remark- 
able scenes are : Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene, attributed to Titian ; 
Christ with the angels, by Thaddeo Zuccaro ; The Nativity, attributed to 
Tintoret ; Manna in the Desert, attributed to Nicolas Poussin. 


The Cathedral Treasure 

This is kept in a sacristy built by Viollet-le-Duc, which is reached through 
a plain door in the southern fa9ade of the transept. 

The treasure, which is very rich in precious reliquaries, chalices, and 
other pieces of goldsmith's work, was saved from the fire of September 19, 
1914, by the Cure of the Cathedral and one of his abbes. After being 
temporarily placed in the house of the Cardinal, it was evacuated in 1915, 
at the order of the Historical Monuments Department. 

Among the best known of these art treasures are the Chalice of St. Remi 
and St. Ursula's Skiff. 

The Chalice of St Remi, with its gold filagree work, six rows of chasing, 
and precious stones set in a cottier, is a remarkab'e work of art. It was in 
this chalice that, by special privilege, the kings of France communicated in 
wine at the conclusion of their consecration. Tradition has it that the gold 


ST. URSULA'S SKIFF. (Clicltf LL.) 

of which it is made was that of the Soissons Vase. Avhereas in reality it is 
12th century. Confiscated in 1793 and deposited in the Bibliotheque National*, 
it was restored to the Cathedral by Napoleon III. 

St. Ursula's SkifF is a reliquary given by Henri III. It represents a 
ship carved out of cornelian, floating on a sea of enamel. The ship, whose 
mast bears the royal crown, is adorned with the escutcheons of France and 
Poland, and contains eleven small figures. That of St. Ursula is said to be 
the portrait of the Queen of France. 

Amongst the other remarkable works of art in the Treasure are the 
following: the reliquaries of Archbishop Samson, St. Sixtus (12th century), 
St. Peter and St. Paul (14th century), and the Holy Sepulchre (16th century) ; 
a monstrance of gilt copper (13th century) ; a liturgical comb of ivory, said to 
have belonged to St. Bernard (12th century) ; a rock-crystal cross, which 
formerly belonged to Cardinal de Lorraine ; orfrays embroidered with silver 
thread (13th century) ; the credence and oil vessels of Abbot dc la Salle ; a 
fragment of a carved wood crozicr (incorrectly said to be the crozier of 



St. Gibrien), two other fragments of which are in the Town Museum (12th 
century) ; the vases, utensils, and sacred ornaments which were used at the 
consecration of Charles X. ; the reliquary of the Sacred Ampulla, designed 
by Lafitte for the consecration of Charles X. The original Sacred Ampulla 
was broken in 1793. The present one, which has only served for the con- 
secration of Charles X., is a replica said to have been made with the few 
drops of balsam of the Clovis Ampulla, which pious hands saved from the 
broken fragments of the sacred vessel. 




Starting-point: Place du Parvis Notre-Dame 

1. The Archbishop's Palace (p. 63). 

2. The Theatre (p. 68) 

3. The House of Levesque de 

Pouilly (p. 68). 

4. The Stores : Galeries Remoises 

(P- 73). 

5. The Maison Fossier (p. 75). 

0. The House of J. B. de la Salle 
(p. 75). 

7. The House of the Enfant d'Or 

(p. 75). 

8. The Statue oi Louis XV. (p. 79;. 

9. The Musicians' House (p. 80). 

10. The House of De Muire (p. 83). 

11. The House of Le Vergeur (p. 85). 

12. A 16th Century House (p. 86). 

13. The General Post Office and 

Chamber of Commerce (p. 87). 

14. The Cloister of the Franciscan 

Friars (p. 90). 

15. The House of Thiret de Prain 

(p. 89). 

16. The House of de la Pourcelette 

(p. 92). 


IN MAY, 1918 

Place du Parvis 

The Place du Parvis (plioto below) is in front of the main faade of the 
Cathedral. The shells made enormous craters there. 

In the centre of the square stands an equestrian statue of Joan-of-Arc, 
by Paul Dubois, of which there is a replica in the Place St. Augustin in Paris. 
It was removed in May, 1918, by the Historical Monuments Department 
(photo above). 


On the right : The Law Cvurt*. In the cr,iti;> : Tin- Theatre. On. the left : The Grand H'Jtcl. 
In centre of Fiji/arc : Mat tie of Joan-of-Arc. 

Looking towards the Cathedral, the 
tourist will see on the right the ruins 
of the Hotel du Lion d'Or and of the 
Hold de la Maison Eowje. 

The latter was completely destroyed. 
Above the door was the inscription : 
" In the year 1429, at the consecration of 
Charles VII., in this hostelry then called 
the 'Striped Ass' the father and 
mother of Jeanne d'Arcq were lodged at 
the expense of the Municipality." In 
reality only the father of Joan -of -Arc 
lodged there. 

It was at the Hotel du Lion d'Or 
(photo opposite) and at the Grand Hotel 
(No. 4 in the RueLibergier, which opens 
out in front of the statue of Joaii-of-Arc) 
that the Field-Marshal French stayed 
in August, 1914, and later General von 
Zuchow, commanding the Saxon troops 
which entered Rheims on September 4, 

On the right of the Cathedral are 
the ruins of the Archbishop's Palace 
(see plan, p. 33). A general view of them 
is seen in the photograph on p. 48. 





The Archbishop's Palace 

Of the three buildings which surrounded every Cathedral in the Middle 
Ages the bishop's palace, the cloister of the canons, and the house set apart 
for the sick and poor (Hotel-Dieu) -only the archbishop's palace existed at 
Rheims in 1914. It extended all along the south lateral facade of the 
Cathedral, on the site of the ancient abode of St. Nicaise, which had replaced 
a Roman palace. Of the ancient building erected by the successors of 
St. Nicaise down to the 13th century, there remained only the graceful two- 
storied chapel, doubtless contemporary with the chevet of the Cathedral. 
The round entrance tower, known as Eon's tower (from the name of the 
heretic who was imprisoned there in the 12th century), and the great bronze 
stag placed in the middle of the courtyard by Archbishop Samson in the 
llth century, still existed in the 17th century, but about that time the one 
was demolished and the other melted down. This stag, into which on feast- 
days wine was poured, which flowed out again by the mouth, was a beautiful 
specimen of the art of the old metal-founders of Rheims. 

The archbishop's palace and most of its rich collections were burnt in the 
fire of September 19, 1914. Of the palace proper there remains only the 
great chimney-piece of the Salle du Tau, on which the Latin motto. " Good 
faith preserved makes rich," is inscribed (see p. 64^, the very opposite of the 
German ' ; scrap of paper " theory. 

The Archeveche: The buildings which lined the courtyard were of 
different periods. The wing abutting on the entrance-gate was 19th century, 
while the correct but heavy and dull southern fa$ade was rebuilt in the 
17th century by Archbishop Maurice Le Tellier, from the plans of Robert 
de Cotte. 



The Salic du Tau (or Kings' Hall) 
(See plan, p. 33.) 

At the bottom of the courtyard there used to be a large late 15th and 
early 16th century hall, access to which was gained by a horse-shoe stair with 
late 17th century wrought-iron hand-rail. 

A small porch-like structure at the top of the stair was an unfortunate 
addition of 1825. 

The hall was known as the Salie du Tau, in memory of the ancient palace 
which was shaped like the Greek letter Tav, or the Kings' Hall, on account 
of the portraits of the Kings consecrated at Rheims. received in 1825. 

Built by the Cardinal Archbishop Guillaume Brionnet betAveen 1497 and 
1507, it comprised two stories. 


Behind the ruined Hall are feen the Southern Transept 
and Chevet of the Cathedral, 


The upper hall, in which the 
royal banquet was served at the 
consecrations, became the Stock 
Exchange at the beginning of the 
19th century. It was disfigured 
by poor paintings and false Gothic 
ornamentation at the time of the 
consecration of Charles X. 

The walls were hung with four 
admirable tapestries by Pepersack 
and several others given by Robert 
de Lenoncourt. 

The .vast chiraney-piece with 
the Brigonnet and Church of 
Rheims Arms is all that the fire 
of 1914 spared of the ancient 
decoration. It is visible in the 
photographs on page 64, at the 
bottom of the hall. 

The lower hall, with its Gothic 
arching, was as large as the upper 
one. The capitals of the prismatic 
pillars and the key-stones of the 
arches were adorned with escut- 
cheons, fleur-de-lys, flowers and 


(OR KINGS' HALL). (See plan, p. 33.) 

The Archi-episcopal Chapel 

(See plan, p. 33.) 

This was without doubt the work 
of Jean d'Orbais, the first architect 
of the Cathedral. It resembled the 
latter in many respects. 

With its seven-sided apse, four- 
bay nave and lancet-shaped windows 
without rubber-work, it was remark- 
ably slender and graceful. 

Its finest ornament was the 13th 
century bas-relief, The Adoration of 
the Magi, in the tympanum of the 
entrance door. 

The white marble inner portico 
of the door dated from the Restora- 
tion The other, formed of in-laid 
wood panels, was adorned with five 
16th or early 17th century painted 

The lower chapel, partly subter- 
ranean, was fitted up as a lapidary 
museum in 1865 and 1896. 


CHAPEL. (See plan, p. 33.) 







The Royal Apartments 

From the Kings' Hall, access was obtained to five royal saloons 
with windows looking on the gardens and adorned with portraits of 

It was in the archbishop's palace that the Kings stayed at the time of 
their consecration or when passing through Rheims. Henry IV. lived there 
during his two sojourns at Rheims. He washed the feet of the poor on Holy 
Thursday in the great hall and listened to the sermon of Father Cotton. 
Louis XIII. and Richelieu stayed therein 1641, Louis XIV. in 1680, Peter the 
Great in 1717, Louis XV. in'l722 and 1744, the Queen in 1765, Louis XVI. 
and Marie Antoinette in 1774, and Charles X. in 1825. From year VI. (Revolu- 
tion Calendar) to 1824 it was occupied by the tribunals. The archbishops 
formerly held many Councils and Synods there, but lived there only rarely. 
In the Middle Ages they preferred living in their fortified castle of Porte Mars 
(see p. 6). In the i7th and 18th centuries they lived mostly outside 

After visiting the ruins of the Arclibishop' s Palace return to the Place du 
Parvis. Take the Rue Liber gier, opposite the Cathedral, turning into the first 
street on the right (Rue Chanzy). The Museum is soon reached (see Itinerary, 
p. 61). 

The Museum, formerly The Grand Seminaire 

This fine 18th century building was erected by Nicolas Bonhomme in 
1743-1752. The carved entrance-door and terraced central pavilion, bordered 
with a fine balustrade (damaged by shell splinters); are the remains of the 
ancient Abbey of St. Denis, the church of which was destroyed at the time 
of the Revolution. The right wing was rebuilt in the 19th century, by order 
of Cardinal Thomas Gousset. The ground-floor of the left wing is old, but 



(18th century) 

the other floors are modern. These buildings were comparatively little 
damaged by the bombardments. 

Successively occupied since 1790 by the District Council, a free secondary 
school, and by the Russians in 1814-1815, the buildings were handed over to 
the Grand Seminaire in 1822. Since the separation of the Church and State 
in 1905, they have been fitted up as a Museum. 

The Museum was struck at the beginning of the bombardment on Sep- 
tember 4, 1914, several pictures in the Modern Gallery being destroyed. 
Later, it was again hit by shells, but the greater part of the collections had 
already been removed to a place of safety. 




SLEPT IN 1814 

(In ruined 

house at No. 18 

Rue de Vesle.) 

Continue along the Rue CJmnzy, which skirts the Theatre (1873), of which 
only the walls remain. Take the Rue de Vesle (first street on the left. See 
Itinerary, p. 61). 

Among the ruins of this street, in the yard of No. 18 on the left, is a building 
of which only the ground-floor and front with large windows and spacious 
dormers remain. 

It was there that Napoleon I. slept after his return to Rheims. His room 
had been preserved exactly as it was in 1814 (see p. 8). 

At No. 27 are vestiges of the old Hdtel Levesque de Pouilly. Inside 
the court there was a 16th century house, the residence of a family which 
furnished Rheims with some remarkable administrators, chief among whom 
was Levesque de Pouilb/, " lieutenant of the inhabitants." Among the cele- 
brated guests received by him were Voltaire and Madame du Chatelet (1749). 




ST, JACQUES. (Cliche LL.) 

In a letter to him, Lord Bolingbroke wrote : " I know but tJiree men who are 
worthy of governing the nation : You, Pope and myself." 

On the right, between Nos. 44 and 46, is the Rue St. Jacques. 

Follow the Rue de Vesle to the end, where the Paris Gate stands, about 1 km. 
from the entrance to the Rue St. Jacques. 

This Gate replaced the Vesle Gate which formerly abutted on the river. 
In consequence of the growth of the city it was built in the faubourg about 
1845. Its beautiful wrought-iron work (photo opposite), by the local master- 
locksmiths Lecoq and Revel, was erected by the City in 1774, at the time of 
the consecration of Louis XVI. 

From the Paris Gate, return by the Rue de Vesle to the Rue St. Jacques, on the 
right of which stands the Church of St. Jacques. 

The Church of St. Jacques, whose fine tower contributed to the charm 
of the general appearance of the city, was destroyed by the bombardments 
of 1918. Begun in the 12th centuryfit was finished in the 16th. Before the 
war, it was the only parish church in Rheims which had been preserved intact. 


ST. JACQUES. (Cliche LL.) 


On the right : Belfry of the Church of St. Jacques. 

The Rue St. Jacques leads to the long Placs Drouet d'Erlon, which, was much 
damaged by the bombardments of 1918 (photo opposite). 

Formerly known as Place de la Couture, this square, like the old streets with 
picturesque names : Rue des Telliers, Rue du Clou-dans-le-Fer, Rue de la 
Belle Image, Rue de la Grosse-Ecritoire, Rue du Cadran St. Pierre, formed part 
of the Quartier des Loges, built in the 12th century by Cardinal Guillaume- 
aux-blanches-mains for the wood and iron workers. The house-fronts above 
the first storey rested mostly on wooden pillars, leaving recesses or covered 
galleries on the ground floor. 

In the centre of the square stood a statue of Marshal Drouet d'Erlon, 
afterwards removed to the crossing of the Boulevards Gerbert and Victor 
Hugo, and replaced by a monumental fountain, the gift of M. Sube. 

Follow the Place Drouet d'Erlon to the Boulevard de la Republique, ivhich 
skirts The Promenades^ 

The Belfry of the Church of St. Jacques no longer exist*. 


Seen from the Rue Buintte (in ruins). 

The Promenades, greatly damaged by the war, have sometimes been 
wrongly attributed to Le Notre. Their designer was a Rheims gardener, 
Jean le Eoux Commenced in 1731, they were finished and extended in 
1787. They were formerly reached by the Gates of Mars and Vesles, but 
preferably by the Promenade Gate specially opened in the ramparts in 1740 
and inaugurated by Louis XV. in 1744, on his return from Flanders. The 
Promenades were first called Cours Le Pelletier (the name of the Intendant of 
Champagne, who approved the plans), then Cours Royal, after the passage 
of Louis XV. They were encroached upon by the railway station, built in 

In the centre of the Promenades, opposite the station, in the Square Colbert, 
laid out by the landscape gardener Vare in 1860, is a statue of Colbert. 

Take the Rue Thiers, which begins at the Square Colbert and leads to tJie 


The Entrance to the Station ixjimt ojijxixite this " Square." 



The Hotel-de-Ville 

This building, which was destroyed by shell-fire on May 13, 1917, was 
similar in many respects to the old Hotel-de-Ville in Paris, burnt in 1871. 

Commenced in 1627, from plans by the Bheims architect, Jean Bonhomme, 
it was completed in stages, at long intervals. Only the central pavilion and 
the left-hand portion were 17th century. 

The building was a beautiful specimen of the architecture of the Louis 
XIII. period. Seventy-eight columns, Doric on the ground-floor and Corin- 
thian on the first storey, framed the windows of the fa9ade, whose bases on 
the first floor carried trophies in bas-relief and a graceful frieze. The niches 
in the central portico were empty, but the pediment on twisted columns 
enclosed an equestrian statue of Louis XIII. 

In the interior, in the great vestibule, a staircase with a remarkable wrought- 
iron balustrade led to the City Library, which was destroyed by the fire of 
1917 (photo, p. 73). 

On the right, the room where the Municipal Council meetings were held, 
contained rich panelling alternated with paintings by Lamatte, commemo- 
rating episodes in the history of Rheims. On the left, the mayor's office 
contained magnificent Louis XVI. wood-work. 

On the other side of the courtyard, in the centre of which is a statue of 
"LaVigne," by St. Marceaux, was the great marriage-hall, containing a Gallo- 
Roman mosaic, framed with rosettes and an interlaced border, representing 
a gladiatorial fight. 

A number of the pictures and works of art in the Hotel-de-Ville were saved 
by the firemen and soldiers. The mosaic in the marriage-hall was protected 
by sand -bags and is intact 

In the Place de V Hotel-de-Ville, between the Rue Thiers and the Banque de 
France, are two small streets : the Rue Salin and the Rue de Pouilly. 



At No. 5 of the Rue Salin, the old 17th century Hotel Coquebert, which was 
destroyed by the shells, used to be the headquarters of the Society of Friends 
of Old Rheims. Several of the illustrations in this Guide are taken from the 
collections of this Societj T . 

In the Rue de Pouilly, close to the H6tel-de-Ville, are the ruins of the 
Galeries Remoises stores. These shops were partly housed in a Gothic building, 
of which only a few chimney-stacks remain (see chimney in photo below). 

Opposite the Hotel-de-Ville take the Ri<? Colbert to the Place des Marches. 




Keen /r,)m the Rue de Tambour. The " Maison de I' Enfant d'Or " is among the ruined 

houses seen in the middle (see pp. 75 to 77). The " lintel de la Salle " and " Maison Fossier" 

(p. 76), on the right-hand side of the Square, are not visible in the abose photograph. 

The des Marches 

Built on the site of the ancient forum, the Market Square, before the 
war, still contained several remarkable 15th century wooden houses. 
Unfortunately, they were destroyed by the terrible bombardment of May 
8-15, 1918, together with the Square. 


On the left: the Carriage Entrance with Caryatids: Adam and Eve. 




The graceful 
Turret has 

After turning to the right, on leaving the Rue Colbert, and quite close to the 
Square, at No. 4 in the Rue de VArbalete, is the house, dating from the middle 
of the 16th century, where J. B. de la Saiie was born. 

Although this house suffered from the bombardments of 1918, its front 
is practically intact. It is the finest Renaissance front in Rheims, after that 
of Le Vergreur's House (see p. 85). 

The carriage entrance is flanked with two life-size caryatids, popularly 
called Adam and Eve, on account of their nudity. Along the first storey 
runs a broad frieze ornamentated with trophies of arms and a shield of 
unknown significance. Between two windows of this storey a niche, resting 
on a console, is crowned with a canopy. The shops on the ground-floor 
somewhat spoilt the general look of the building. The interior of the house 
was less interesting than the front. 

In the courtyard is a strikingly graceful three-storey turret (photo above), 
one side of which has collapsed. 

Among the wooden houses destroyed by the bombardments of 1918 in 
the Place des Marches, the following must be mentioned : the Maison Fossier 
(see p. 76), which stood in the Square at the right-hand corner of the Rue de 
1'Arbalete, and especially the Maison de i 1 Enfant d'Or (sometimes wrongly 
called the House of Jacques Callou), which stood near the Rue des Elus. 
The latter house took its name from an old sign representing the gilt figure 
of a sleeping child. Hence, punningly. the name Golden or Sleeping 

In spite of alterations, this house (photo, p. 77), with its pent-house roof, 
two overhanging storeys, windows crowned with finials, and sculptural 
decoration (we carred console, p. 77), was a well-preserved specimen of 
loth century architecture. 

From tlie Place des Marches, follow the Rue Colbert to the Place Royaie. 


See text, page 75. 

See Itinerary, p. 61 (A^o. 5 of Explanatory Notes). 

Second house on the left, after the Rue des Elus. (See p. 77.) 



It was completely 
destroy td (see j>. 76.) 





August 26, 1765 ; eujraviiiy by Varin. The original statue (by Pigalle) 
is in the middle of the Square. 

The Place Royaic 

The Place Royale, which had previously suffered severely on September 
19-22, 1914, was completely destroyed by fire, with the exception of the 
modern buildings of the Societe Generate Bank, during the bombardment 
of April 8-15, 1918. 

Commenced in 1756, from plans by the architect Legendre, it formed an 
oblong, of severe and imposing appearance, at the cross-ways of the four 
main streets of the City. In order to carry out Legendre' s plans, forty-nine 
houses had to be acquired and pulled down. The Square remained unfinished, 
only three of its sides being built. The Louis XV. -XVI. transition style 
houses were of uniform construction, and were remarkable for their arcades 
and eaveless roofs, around which latter ran a balustrade. The central 
house (formerly the Hotel des Fermes) had a Doric front with a statue of 


The plinth of the statue was protected by masonry-work. 


Mercury surrounded by children arranging bales or carrying grapes to the 
wine-press. A statue of Louis XV., in the middle of the Square, was 
protected from the bombardments by masonry- work (photos, p 78 and below). 

The monarch is represented in a Roman mantle and laurel wreath. On 
either side of the pedestal are two allegorical bronze figures. One, a 
woman, holding a helm with one hand and leading a lion with the other, 
symbolizes gentleness of Government ; the other, a contented man resting 
in the midst of abundance, represents the happiness of nations. The wolf 
and the lamb sleeping side by side at their feet are symbolical of the 
Golden Age. 

The monument, inaugurated in 1765, is the work of Pigalle, but the two 




The tiro allegorical figures are supposed to be lik: nesses 
the Siu'ptor Pigalle and hi* wife. 

allegorical figures, which are supposed to be portraits of the sculptor and his 
wife, alone ar3 original. 

The original statue of Louis XV. was removed at the time of the Revolution 
(August 15, 1792), and sent to the foundry. It was first replaced by a 
pyramid surmounted by a " Fame," in memory of the defenders of the 
Patrie, then by a plaster Goddess of Liberty, and in 1803 by a trophy of 
arms and flags. The present statue, erected under Louis XVIII. (1818), 
is due to the sculptor Cartellier, and is an exact replica of the original 

It was on the steps of the monument that the Conventionist Ruhl smashed 
the Sacred An pulla under the Revolution. 


From the Place Itoi/nle, return to the Market Sqiiare, cross over to the Rue cte 
Tambour (parallel with the Rue Colbert). 

The Rue de Tambour owes its name either to the statue of a tambourine- 
player on one of its houses, or to the presence of the town-drummer who 
lived in it. It was first damaged, then burnt, in April, 1918. 

The house was destroyed by bombardment, but the statues were saved. 

Previous to 1918, old houses in this street were still numerous. The 
most celebrated was the now completely destroyed Musicians' House 
(photo above), the true origin of which is unknown. 

It has variously been supposed to have been the house of a rich burgess, 
of the Tom Fiddlers' Brotherhood, and the Mint of the Archbishops of Rheims. 
The first storey of the fagade had been preserved intact since the 13th century. 
In the Gothic niches which separated the mullioned and transomed windows, 
five large seated figures on carved consoles (photo above) represented a 
tambourine and flute player, a piper, a falconer with crossed less, a harpist 
and an organ-grinder crowned with a garland of flowers. The falcon on the 
wrist of the central figure was removed by the organisers of the consecration 
of Charles X., as it was feared that the royal banners might get caught 
on it. . 

Fortunately, these statues, which are remarkable for their natural 
expression and vigour, were removed to a place of safety before the house was 

Thanks to a public subscription, the town was able to acquire them shortly 
before the war, thus preventing them from being sold abroad. 

The cellars of this house are curious, but there exists no proof that they 
date back, as has been said, to the Roman period. 

The adjoining house (No. 22) is 14th century, and probably dates back 


22 RUK BE 

to about the end of the reign of Philippe-le-Bel. Its front has been greatly 
spoilt, but still contains a fine door surmounted by an elliptical arch (photo 

At No. 13 of this street, two 13th century carved heads, one of a man 
and the other of a woman wearing one of the mortar-shaped hats in fashion 
until the end of the reign of St. Louis, have been built into the facade. 

At the end of the Rue de Tambour, take the Rite de Mars, on the riqht of the 
H6tel-de-Ville, at the end of which, on the left, stands the Triumphal Arch oj 
the Mars Gate- 



The Mars Gate 

This monument was long believed to be a Roman grate hence its name 
although the ornamentation of its four sides proves that it cannot origi- 
nally have been connected with the ramparts. It was only in the Middle 
Ages that it was included in the fortified castle (photo, p. 6) built by the arch- 
bishops a few steps to the rear. About 1334 its arcades were walled up. 
while towards 1554 it was buried under a mass of rubbish daring the building 
of the fortifications. Partly disinterred in 1594, when the archbishops' 
castle was pulled down, it was not completely cleared until 1816-1817 
Restored, then classed as an historical monument (thanks to Prosper Merimee), 
it is one of the largest RomaKi structures remaining in France. Forty-four 
feet high, one hundred and eight wide, and sixteen thick, it was really a 
triumphal arch built ou the Csesarean Way at the entrance to the town, 


In the centre : Romulus and Remus suckled by the she-wolf. 


probably in the 4th century. It comprises three arches separated by fluted 
Corinthian columns which support the entablature. On the two main 
fa9ades between the columns are carved medallions and niches which have 
lost their statues. The vaulting of the arches is divided into sunken panels, 
the carving of which is mostly in a good state of preservation. Under the 
eastern arch Romulus and Remus are seen suckled by the she-wolf. Under 
the middle arch, the twelve months of the year, represented by persons 
(five of whom have been destroyed), occupied in the labours of the four 
seasons, surround Abundance and Fortune. Under the western arch Love 
is seen descending from the sky above Leda and the Swan. 

Behind the Mars Gate is the Place de la Republique, containing a statue 
by Bartholdi, damaged by shell-fire. In front of the Gate, take the Hue 


Note the curious masonry-work of the first storey, composed 
of polygonal stone* in relief. 

Henri TV., leading behind the H6tel-de-Ville, then turn to the left into the Rue 
de Sedan. The house at No. 3 was destroyed by shells, except the Louis XVI. 
front with its gracefully carved garlands, which escaped injury. 

Take the Rue du Grenier-d-Sel, on the right, to the H6tel Noel de Muire, 
on the left, at the corner of the Rue Linguet. 

This house consists of the remains of a sort of Henry IT. manor with 
turrets and dormer-windows The walls, rounded at the corners like those 
of the Templars, are of brick and dressed stone. The plinth separating the 
two stories is decorated with carved wreathed foliage. Fret-work and hexa- 
gonal points frame the windows, while a broad cornice on consoles carries 
the roof. Formerly the residence of the lords of Muire, this house was 
popularly known as the Maison des Petils Pates, on account of the polygonal 
shape of the stones in relief. Theodore de Beze, one of the leaders of the 
Reformation in France, lived there with his friend, Noel de Muire. 



Take the Rue du Marc, which continues the Rue du Grenier-a-Sel (photo 

The Rue du Marc was the quarter where the old noble families and the 
higher bourgeoisie of Rheims lived. It suffered considerably from the 

At No. 3 is a Henry IV. house, the windows of which are framed with 
graceful ornamentation (photo below). 

However, the most remarkable house in the street is undoubtedly the 
Hotel Nicolas le vergeur (No. 1), which, unfortunately, was partly 
destroyed by the shells (see p. 85). 






AT NO. 3 



The Hotel Nicolas Lc Vergeur 

The interior building, which has a 17th century carriage entrance, offers 
two fine examples of 15th and 16th century architecture. It is the finest 
Renaissance structure in Rheims. The main front, incomparably the most 
graceful, was but little damaged by the bombardments (photo below). 

On the ground-floor the great arched doorway is divided by a wooden 
post into two delicately carved compartments. Pilasters decorated with 
heads, flowers, birds, and horns of plenty frame the three stone-mullioned 
windows. Above these runs a frieze of trophies and medallions, with 
portraits of noble lords with upturned moustaches and pointed beards, and 
of great ladies with collerettes and high head-dresses, gracious or haughty, 
standing well out in relief. 

On the first storey, carved panels above the windows form a sort of broad 
frieze of bas-reliefs representing men-at-arms or knights of the time of 


Frangois I. and Henri IT. fighting at tournaments with lance, sword, or 

In one of the rooms overlooking the Rue Pluche were, a fine stone mantel- 
piece decorated with graceful delicate foliage ; a timberwork ceiling with 
large and small beams, carrying panels decorated with scrolls, and 
15th century tile-flooring of terira-cotta, varnished and painted green and 

At the back of the courtyard, a building, supposed by some to be an 
old chapel, had been transformed into vast cellars and store-rooms. The 
oaken ceiling of the latter, about fifty feet long and twenty-one broad, 
destroyed in 1918, was one of the most beautiful in the world. The beams, 
whose extremities carried grotesque figures, were carved on all their sides 
with foliage, dragons, birds, and fruits. The beams were connected by joists 
resting on stems, which represented apes, dragons, persons, and foliage. 
Between the joists the panels had the appearance of scrolls. 

After nailing iJi" Hotel Le Vergevr, imn to the right into Uie Rite Phtche, 
which leads lo the Place des Marches. Skirt the Square on the left, tfien take 
the first street mi the left : Rue Courmeaux. 


At No. 18 are the ruins of the Hotel Rosier de Monclin, destroyed after 
April, 1918. This house dated back to the Louis XV. period, but had been 
disfigured by modern alterations. The fa9ade overlooking the courtyard, 
the entrance-hall, and the staircase with ornamental balustrade, were inte- 
resting. At the time of the consecration of Louis XVI., one of the saloons 
was furnished for the King's brother, the Comte (or Monsieur) d'Artois, 
whence the name " Rue de Monsieur," formerly borne by the Rue 

At No. 30 is a Renaissance door, almost intact (photo belotv). 
At No. 34, at the corner of the Rue Legendre, is a late 16th century house, 
whose interior arrangement and facade are intact, except for the wood- 
work of the windows, which was modernised in the 18th century. It 

30, Rue Courmeaux. 


was built on the site of the old wool-market, after Marshal de Saint-Paul, 
at the time of the League, had compelled the inhabitants of the Faubourg 
Ceres to destroy their houses. 

Return to the Riie Courmeaux and lake the Riie BonJiomme on the left, ivhich 
leads to the Rue Ct'-res. 

The Rue Ceres was totally destroyed by fire, from the Place Royale to 
the Post Office, which had to be given up in the autumn of 1914. 

At No. 30 is the Chamber of Commerce, one of the finest late 18th century 
buildings in Rheims. The magnificent Louis XVI. rooms escaped practically 
uninjured. The staircase leading to the first stor.y, with its delicate 
balustrade, is very remarkable. 


Rue du Faubourg Cirs. 


The Rue Ceres ends at the Esplanade Ceres (photo, p. 87), which was 
made outside the old ramparts near the Ceres Gate. The name Ceres 
is derived from a tower that long served as a prison (career, whence by 

corruption chair, cere,, and then by false 
mythological association, Ceres). It was in 
this tower (no longer existing, but famous 
as early as the 9th century) that, according 
to the chansons de geste, Ogier the Dane, 
handed over by Charlemagne to the custody 
of the Bishop of Rheims, was incarcerated. 

From the Esplanade continue, if desired, 
by the Rue du Faubourg Ceres (greatly 
damaged by the bombardments), to the 
Church of St. Andre, a modern building 
erected by the architect Brunette. 

It was struck several times by shells 
and will have to be rebuilt. As early as 
the first bombardment of September 4th, 
1914, shell splinters damaged the doorway, 
transept, stained glass (part of which was 
16th century and came from the old church), 
small organ,, and the painting of the Baptism 
of Clovis. Subsequently, the vaulting and 
parts of the walls collapsed. 

The Church possesses a precious reliquary 
of copper (15th century) and a statue of 
St. Andre (patron of the church) of painted 
and gilded stone, attributed without autho- 
rity, to Pierre Jacques. 



19, Rue Eugene Desteuque, 

Return to the Esplanade Ceres, turn to the left at the beginning of the 
Boulevard de la Paix, then to the right into the Rue Eugene Desteuque. 
At No. 19 of this street are the ruins of the Hotel Thiret de Pram. 

The Hotel Thiret de Prain 

This was a mansion in the days of Henry IV. and Louis XIII. Richelieu 
stayed there in 1641. 

An imposing building, bordered with streets on its four sides, it had 
retained its original appearance. The carriage-entrance in the Rue Eugene- 
Desteuque alone had been Rebuilt in 1697. The principal entrance was 
surmounted with a gallery, the walls, ceiling and beams of which were 
covered with delicate decorative paintings. 

On the first floor one of the corner rooms, looking east, contained a large 


These two photograph* illustrate the systematic destructions 

tixi'il >ni tin' (,'t'rinanit. 


In the courtyard of No. 9, Rue des Trois-Jlaiainets. 

Henry IV. mantelpiece, above which were the arms of the nobles of Prain. 
Only the metallic portion remains. 

The dove-cot of the Hotel, a massive square tower with pent-house roof, 
overlooking the Rue d'Avenay, was destroyed by the bombardments. 

On the left of the Rue Eugene-Desteuque, opposite the Hotel Thiret-de-Prain, 
is the Rue des Trois-Raisinets. At No. 9 are the ruins of a Franciscan Cloister 
(photo above). 

Thh street (photo below), like the Cloister, suffered severely from the 

Return to the Rue Eugenc-Desteuque mid follow the same as far as the Rue 
de la Grue (on- the. right). This street was bacHy damaged by shell-fire and 
is impracticable for motor-cars. 

It was named after the sign carved on a stone (photo, p. 91) of the house 
at No. 5 (entirely destroyed by the shells). At the end stood the house where 

14, Rue des Trois-Ra its! nets. 


It teas at !fo. 5, but has been destroyed. 

J. B. Colbert was born (at the corner of the Rues Ceres and de Nanteuil, 
photo below). 

Return to the Rue Eugene-Desteuque, follow it as far as the Rue de 
1'Universite. Turn into the latter on the. left. 

This street was destroyed as early as September. 1914. At No. 25 are 
the ruins of a Professional School for Girls, formerly the St. Martha Hospital. 
The latter, also known as the " Hopital des Magneuses," was founded in the 
17th century by Mesdames de Magneux, and rebuilt in the 18th century 
in the Louis' XVI. style. 


At the corner of the Rues C4res and de Xanteuil. 


At No. 40, opposite the Sub-Prefecture, now in ruins, is the Maison de 
Joan Maillefer, named after the rich merchant who built it in 1652. It 
was scarcely finished, when it was chosen and this was a source of pride to 
its owner as an abode for Anne of Austria, at the time of the consecration 
of Louis XIV. The inside of the courtyard alone has retained practically 
its ancient appearance. The front looking on the street had recently been 
put back and altered. Some of the sculpture which adorned it came from 
another house. 

A short distance farther on, on the left, is the Place Godinot, named after a 
canon of the 18th century, who caused numerous alterations to be made in 
the decoration of the choir and sanctuary of the Cathedral. 

Take the Rue Si. Just on the right, and follo-w its continuation (the Rue des 
Anglais) as far as the Rue d'Anjou, which take on the right. 

The Hotel de la Pourcelette (Xo. 7) evokes memories of Mabillon. 
who lived there when a young student at the University of Rheims. 

At the end of the Rue, d'Anjou, turn to the left into the Rue du Cardinal de 
Lorraine, and follow the same to the short Rue des Tournelles on the left. 

In the house at No. 3 of this street were incorporated the turret and two 
principal windows of an old Gothic 16th century structure, situated at No. 18 
of the Rue des Angla'is, and in ruins since 1898. The drawing-room likewise 
contains a large stone chimney-piece, which formerly stood in the great hall 
of the old house. 

At the end of the Rue des Tournelles, turn to the right into the Rue des Fusiliers, 
which leads tb the Place du Parvis. Cross the latter to the Rue Tronson 
Diicoudray. Follow this street, which runs between the Palais de Justice and 


At JVo. 20 Rue du Car rouge. 


the Theatre, turn to the left, in front of the latter, into the Rue de Vesle, and take 
the first street on the right, the Rue de Talleyrand. 

Follow this street, the greater part of which was destroyed by fire 
during the bombardments of April, 1918. It suffered further damage in 
the months that followed, and a number of interesting old houses were 

Turn into the first street on the right (Rue du Cadran St. Pierre), and follow 
the same as far as the Rue de la Clef. Take the latter on ih. right. 

Before doing so, however, take a look at the fine Louis xiil. entrance 

(photo, p. 92) of the house at No. 20 of the Rue du Carrouge opposite. 

At No. 4 of the Rue de la Clef are the rains of the former Hdtel de Bezannes, 
partly built by Pierre de Bezannes, Lieutenant of Rheims in 1458 This 
house contains some fine 16th and 18th century woodwork. 

The Rue des Deux Anges, which continues the Rue de la Clef, leads to the 

The Place lloyale is seen in the background. 

Place du Palais, destroyed during the bombardments of April, 1918. In 
this square stands the Palais de Justice- The Palais replaced the old 
Hotel-Dieu, but has been almost entirely rebuilt. It is a building of little 
note, the principal entrance in particular being stiff to excess. 

Its only interest is provided by two relics of the past : the vast cellars 
or subterranean vaults with pointed arches supported by columns with 
Gothic capitals ; and the facade of the Audience-Chamber, formerly the 
principal ward of the old Hotel Dieu, the exterior of which has retained its 
venerable appearance and the interior, vestiges of its lofty timber- work and 
wainscoted vaulting. 

The ground-floor of the Palais alone escaped damage from fire and the 
shells, thanks to a terrace of reinforced concrete, 

On the left of the Palais take the Rue Carnot, destroyed by the bombardments 
of April, 1918. 


The Rue Carnot communicates with the courtyard of the Chapter- 
House, also burnt, by a great gate and passage which pass right through a 

This entrance was built about 1530, in the transition style between the 
Gothic and Renaissance. Its elliptical arch bears a scutcheon with the arm? 
of the Chapter. Consoles, decorated with grotesque figures, support the 
beams. The points of the turrets have disappeared, a supporting shaft has 
been mutilated, and the carved wooden leaves of the door have been removed 
to the Lycee, yet the gate is still imposing. 

It is the last remaining vestige of the Chapter buildings which, with their 
gates closing at the same time as those of the city, at the sound of the bell, 
formed a '' city within a city." In point of fact, the Chapter was once lord 
of that part of the city which lies around the Cathedral, and which it adminis- 


The Northern Transept of the Cathedral /.< 
seen in the background. 

tered. The canons, jealous of their prerogatives, were often hi conflict 
with the archbishops. 

A few capitals and shafts of the ancient cloister of the Chapter, adjoining 
the Cathedral, were recently discovered and placed under one of the pent- 
houses built between the buttresses of Xotre-Dame. 

Go through the gate, cross the, Place du Chapitre, follow the Rue du Pn'ctit 
towards the. Cathedral, then turn to the right into the Rue Robert de Coucy, ivhich 
leads back to the Place du Parvis Notre-Dame 



Starting from the Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, take the Rue Libergier, 
opposite the Cathedral* Turn to the left into the Rue Chanzy, which was 
destroyed by the bombardments of April- August, 1918. 





(18th Century), 

at No. 71 

Rue Chanzy 

The ruins of the 18th century H6tei Lagoilie deCourtagnon may be 
seen at No. 71 of this street. It was destroyed by the bombardments 
of April, 1918, with the exception of a part of the front. The finely 
carved door and remarkable ironwork of the balcony are visible in the 
above photograph. 







CAQUE (see p. 97) 


at A'o. 65, Rue de 
V Universite. Th is 
bas-relief and tie 
one opposite, on the 
wall of the Lya'-e, 
are the last 
remaining retstiges 
of a Gallo-Roman 

The Hospice Noel Caque (formerly Hospice St. Marcoul), on the right, 
was seriously damaged by the bombardments of April, 1918. It dated 
from the middle of the 17th century, and was well preserved, with the exception 
of the chapel, rebuilt in 1873. 

Take the Rue de Contrai, on the left, which leads to the Rue de 1'Universite. 
Inserted in the fa9ade of the house at No. 65 (on the right), and in the wall of 
the Lycee (on the left), are two stone bas-reliefs ornamented with trophies 
of arms and Roman insignia, the sole remaining vestiges of the Porte Baste 
(from Basilea) which formerly stood there on the Csesarean way, at the southern 
extremity of the Gallo-Roman town. (See pfwto above of the right-hand 

Follow the Rue de I 'Universite and skirt the Lycee de Galons, of which 





5. Rue Vauthier- 


On either side of 

the arcade are 

heads of 

"Jean quirit" 


" Jean qui pleure." 

only the chapel and one of the buildings are left. The rest was burnt or 
destroyed by shell-fire. 

The Lycee replaced the old College des Boris Enfants, founded hi the Middle 
Ages, and rebuilt in the 16th century by the Cardinal de Lorraine, founder of 
the University of Rheims. 

Of the old College, only the central part remained, in the second court 
built by Archbishop Charles Maurice Le Tellier in 1686 and the following 

The gate of the Cour des Etudes dates from 1688. 

The ancient door of the College the tympana of whose arcading contain 
two laughing and crying heads was transferred to the entrance of the 
Petit Lycee, at No. 5 of the street on the right of the Lycee (Rue Vauthier-le- 
Noir) (photo above). 

Shortly after the Lycee, turn to the right into the Place Godinot, then take the 
Rue St. Pierre-les- Dames on the right. At No. 8 are the ruins of the Abbey 

of St. Picrrc-lcs-Damcs. 

Of this celebrated Abbey, where several royal persons stayed : Mary 
Stuart twice, in her childhood and after she was widowed ; Henry IV., on a 
visit to his cousin, the Abbess Renee II. ; Anne of Austria, of whom the 
Congregation library contains a portrait ; there remains hardly anything but 
two 16th century pavilions belonging to the period when Renee de Lorraine, 
sister of the Queen of Scotland and aunt of Mary Stuart, was abbess of the 
convent. Built of stone and brick with marble incrustations, and adorned 
with beautiful carvings, these pavilions were pure Renaissance in style. 
The head of an angel with unfolded wings and the head of a grinning demon 
surmounted the two windows of one of the ground-floors. On the first floor 
of the same pavilion the window, framed with delicate ornaments, opened 
above a cornice, the principal sculptural subject of which was a nude woman, 
helmeted, suckling two children. 





8, Rue St. Pierre- 

The Rue St. Pierre-les- Dames leads to the Rue des Mttrs, into which turn 
to the right, then to the left into the Rue du Barbdtre. Follow the latter to the end. 
This street suffered greatly from the early bombardments, and was almost 
entirely destroyed in the summer of 1918. 

At Nos. 137 and 139, at the corner of the Rue Montlaurent, are the ruins of 
the Hotel Fcrct de Montlaurent. 

Hotel Fcrct de Montlaurent. 

This large building, occupied by the Cercle Catholique, was commenced 
about 1540 by Hubert Feret, a Lieutenant of the people, and the most 


The statues in the niches represent the sun &nd planets. 


celebrated member of a family which played an important part at Rheims 
in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. The outside faade has been greatly 
altered. At No. 137 it was entirely rebuilt under Louis XVI. At No. 139 
the ground-floor openings have been modified. 

As in many of the mansions of the 16th century, most of the decoration 
is on the inner fa9ades. Inside the courtyard, on the ground-floor of the 
wing abutting on the Rue Montlaurent, there is a six-arched gallery which 
was damaged but not destroyed (photo, p. 99). Between the arch-centres 
and at the ends of the gallery are seven niches, three feet high, enclosing 
stone statues of the sun and the six planets known in the 16th century. 

Taken in their order they are : Saturn, with a scythe in his hand and 
serpent round his arm, devouring a child, and the zodiacal signs Aquarius 
and Capricornus at his feet ; Jupiter, holding a lighted torch, with Sagittarius 
at his feet ; Mars, armed from head to foot, surmounting Cancer and Aries ; 
the Sun, personified by Phoebus with flowing mantle, a lion at his side; 
Venus, clothed only in her hair, surmounting Taurus and Balcena ; Mercury, 
with wings on his head and heels, the caduceus in his hand, Virgo and Gemini 
at his feet ; the Moon, represented by Diana bearing a crescent ; below her 

The escutcheons on the wall at the back of this facade bear the initials 
of Regnault Feret, who completed the mansion. In the second court there 
are still vestiges of the chapel of this family. 

At No. 142 of the same street, the entrance to the Cour Maupinot (one of 
the numerous cours which have survived in Rheims) is framed in pilasters, 
the carved entablature of which supports a triangular pediment (photo belmv). 

The Rue Barbatre is continued by the Rue des Salines, which leads to the 
Place St. Nicaise. 





14-2, Rite du Barbutre. 

See Itinerary, p. 95 


The Place St. Nicaise was destroyed by the bombardments of April- 
August, 1918. It took its name from the celebrated Bishop of 
Rheims, who, with his sister St. Eutropia, was put to death by the Vandals 
in 407. 

The Church of St. Nicaise, rebuilt in the 13th century by Libergier and 
Robert de Coucy, was destroyed at the time of the Revolution. Amongst 
other curiosities it contained a loose pillar, which Peter the Great had pointed 
out to him at the time of his journey through Rheims. 

At the corner of the Place St. Nicaise, between the Boulevard Victor- 
Hugo and the Rue St. Nicaise, is the entrance to the Champion Cellars, 
in which the Dubail school was installed during the war (see p. 24). 

Take the Rue St. Nicaise to the Boulevard Henry Vasnier (photo below), 
turn into the latter, on the right, and follow same as far as the Rond-Pcint 
St. Nicaise. 

All this part of the town, which was quite close to the German lines, 
was constantly under the fire of their guns. It was violently bombarded 
during the German offensives of May, June and July, 1918. 

Near the Rond-Point de St. Nicaise are the Pommery Cellars, which 
gave shelter to many citizens and school-classes during the war (see p. 24). 

The Pommery Cellars 

These cellars are among the finest in RheLns, and form, with their 
eleven miles of streets, squares and boulevards lighted by electricity, rail- 
tracks, waggons, lifts, electric pumps and siphons, quite an underground city. 
A visit to them will give the tourist an idea of the importance and complexity 
of the Champagne wine industry in Rheims. 




See Itinerary, p. 95, and panorama seen from the top of St. Sicaise II ill, p. 27. 

The Boulevard Diancourt, which skirts the Square St. Nicaise, begins at 
the Rond-Point St. Nicaise. 

This square was much cut up by the bombardments, and by the trenches 
and defensive works made there during the war (photo above). 

The square contains two eminences, from the top of which there is a fine 
panoramic view of Rheims. 

The photograph on page 27 was taken from the eminence nearest the 
Rond-Point St. Nicaise. 

The other eminence is crowned by a limestone tower all that remains of 
the ancient city ramparts. 

Follow the Boulevard Diancourt to the Place Dieu-Lumiere. 

The name Dieu-Lumiere, borne by the old gate through which Joan-of-Arc 
and the Dauphin entered Rheims, was not derived, as supposed at the 
Renaissance, from the Sun-God Apollo, but from the old Gate Dieu-li-Mire 
(God the Physician), so called in the Middle Ages on account of the proximity 
of a Cistercian hospital. 

Cross the square and take the Rue Dieu-Lumiere on the right to the Place 
St.-Timothee. The wood-panelled houses, whose loges faced the Place 
St.-Timothee, were destroyed by the bombardments of April-September, 
1918, except the one at the corner of the Rue St. Julien. This house, though 
severely damaged, has retained its butcher's stall with 17th century wooden 

Take the Rue St. Julien on the left to tlie Place St.-Remi, in which stands the 

Church of St. Remi. 


The Church of St. Remi 

The Church of St. Remi is the oldest church in Rheims, and one of the 
oldest in all France. Although it is not certain that it replaced a Roman 
basilica, said to have stood on the site of the present transept, there is no 
doubt that Gallo-Roman building materials, taken from neighbouring edifices 
\vere used in its construction or restoration. 

To-day, the church covers a ground-space of about an acre and a quarter. 
In shape a Latin cross, it measures inside about 450 feet in length, 98 feet 
in breadth and 124 feet in height under the vaulting. Only the southern 
fagade shows to advantage, but in spite of its varied styles, which mark the 
different stages of its growth, the church realises to the full the purpose of 
its founders. Its architecture and decoration, especially in the interior, 
make it, as was intended, a grand and dignified depository for sacred 

The Church of St. Remi stands on the site of a former cemetery, in the 
middle of which was the Chapel of St. Christopher, where St. Remi was 
buried. The chapel soon became popular and grew rapidly, especially between 
the 6th and 9th centuries, when it became a great fortified church. The 
present church, which replaced it, is not only one of the finest Romanesque 
churches in the north of France, but also forms a curious epitome of the history 
of architecture for several centuries. Begun in 1039 under Abbot Thierry, 
it was still far from finished when consecrated in 1049 by Pope Leo IX. 
Building was continued in 1170 by Abbot Pierre de Celle, the future Bishop 
of Chartres, whcse restorations were the first application of the Gothic style 
to a great building in Rheims ; in the 13th and 14th centuries, under Abbot 
Jean Canart, and in the 15th century, under Abbot Robert de Lenoncourt e 
Partially transformed at the end of the 16th century, it has been restored 
and partly rebuilt at intervals since 1839. 

The Church of St. Remi during the War 

The Church of St. Remi escaped severe damage until the middle of 1918. 
The bombardment of September 4, 1914, injured one of the tapestries 
depicting the life of St. Remi, and destroyed a fine painting : The Entry of 
Clovis into Rheims. The bombardment of November 16, 1914, wrecked the 
apsidal chapel of the Virgin, bringing down the vaulting, destroying the 
key-stone and pointed arches, crushing the altar beneath a heap of ruins, 
smashing the magnificent windows of the apsidal gallery, and destroying 
the priceless 12th century stained-glass depicting Christ crucified between the 
Virgin and St. John. The Church narrowly escaped destruction when the 
Hotel-Dieu Hospital was burnt down in 1916. From April, 1918, it was 
marked down by the German batteries. The roof was entirely burnt, 
and the dummy vaulting of the nave collapsed. Of the fine 15th century 
timber-work nothing remains, but parts of the lofty 13th century vaulting 
over the choir and transept withstood the bombardment. The treasure, 
tapestries, sacristy doors, storied tile-flooring of the chapel of St. Eloi, 
the old stained-glass of the lofty windows, and the apsidal windows round 
the gallery of the first storey, were saved by the Historical Monuments 

The tomb of St. Remi is intact. The relics of the saint which, at the 
request of the Archbishop of Rheims had not been disturbed, were removed 
by the vicar of the parish at the time of the final evacuation of the town. 
The reliquary was taken away by officers at a later date, while the church was 


The Apse of St. Remi Church 

The Apse was rebuilt under Pierre de Celle in 1170, in early Gothic. Five 
three-sided radiating chapels arranged in three stages, one behind the other, 
have flowing and elegant lines, broken by the enormous projections of the 
buttresses which were added at a later period. 

This apse is one of the earliest religious edifices in France, in which flying 
buttresses were employed. 

The latter, very simple in design, rest on outside fluted columns detached 
from the wall of the apse. This is one of the last examples of fluting, as 
applied to columns, the process disappearing generally with the introduction 
of pointed architecture, only to reappear at the Renaissance. 

The persistence of this fluting is doubtless explained by the influence 
of the many specimens of Roman architecture which Rheims had preserved 

The Doorway of the Southern Transept 

Although the transept dates from the llth century, its southern facade 
was built in 1480 by Robert de Lenoncourt. 

The doorway, which bears the Lenoncourt arms, comprises only one door, 
divided by a pillar with statues of St. Remi and the Virgin. 

The deep vaulting of the door is ornamented with vine-foliage. At the 
base, in the supporting walls, are statues of St. Sixtus and St. Sinicius (the 
first missionaries to Rheims) bare-footed, clothed in long embroidered mantles 
and holding books. In the vaulting above the head-covering of the mission- 
aries are eight groups of statuettes representing episodes in the Life and 
Passion of Jesus. 

Tourists who follow the Itinerary on page 95, come out by the Rue 
St. Julien, in front of the doorway of the south transept. The latter is 
between the ruined apse (on the right) and the south lateral fa9ade (on the 






The 15th century leaves of the door are composed of wood panels in 
blind arcading, ornamented with flowering clover. 

On the buttresses which frame the doorway are five statues of saints, 
including St. Remi, St. Benedict, and St. Christopher carrying a kneeling 
Jesus on his shoulder. 

The tympanum of the gable above the great flamboyant window is 
arranged on a Gothic pediment. Its decoration represents the Assumption 
of the Virgin and her crowning in Heaven. 

On the top of the pediment, and crowning the whole, is St. Michael 
trampling Satan underfoot. 

The whole of the doorway is a beautiful example of Flamboyant Gothic. 
Its rich carvings and delicate ornamentation are in striking contrast with 
the severity of the rest of the building. 

At the intersection of the transept, there was formerly a wooden spire, 
built in 1394, which was pulled down as unsafe in 1825, by order of those 
who had charge of the arrangements connected with the consecration of 
Charles X. 

On the right-hand side of the transept, and also in the north transept, 
are small semi-circular chapels. 

South Lateral Facade 

This front has the bare, massive appearance of the llth century buildings. 
The remarkable Roman arches, massive buttresses and blind doorway, framed 
by two primitive capitals with a wreath- shaped astragal, are apparently 
vestiges of constructions of an earlier date than those of Abbot Thierry. 

The semi-cylindrical abutments are among the oldest of mediaeval 
buttresses. They are crowned with cones or capitals, the greater part of 
which are devoid of decoration. 


The West Front of" St. Remi Church 

Between its two towers, this gabled fagade, the recesses and blind arcading 
of which form almost its sole decoration, is in strong contrast with the principal 
fagade of the Cathedral. At once elegant and severe, like most of the monastic 
buildings of the 12th century, it lacks unity. All that part situated above 
the five windows of the first storey, including the rose-window, has been 
rebuilt in modern times. The very simple rose-window, between two lines 
of superimposed arcading, is protected,, in the Champagne style, by a relieving- 
arch. The northern tower (on the left) was almost entirely rebuilt in the 
19th century, on the lines of the old one. The simpler southern tower (on 
the right), with its arched windows and loopholes, is Roman of the llth or 
12th century. The pointed part of the fagade is late 12th century, and dates 
from the tune of the restorations by Pierre de Celle. 

Three doors open on the nave. The central one is flanked by two columns 
with statues of St. Peter and St. Remi. The marble and granite columns 
came, no doubt, from some neighbouring Gallo-Roman building. These 
statues, with arms pressed close to their sides in the ancient stiff manner, are 
probably from the original basilicas. 



(seen from 
the Choir) 
(Cliche LL.) 

The Inner Side of the Western Doorway 

Here, the architecture is peculiar. Pierced columns form a gallery 
connecting the upper courses. The galleries of the first storey are supported 
by two great columnar shafts, each formed of two portions joined by a stone 
ring and surmounted by bell- shaped marble capitals. The columns and 
capitals are Gallo-Roman. 

The Nave 

Alterations were made at different times to the nave which, in the llth 
century, had a timber-work roof. Pierre de Celle lengthened it by two bays, 
the pointed arches of which contrast with the circular ones of the lower bays, 
and also increased its height. Note the ogives above the round arches. The 
visible timber-work was replaced with vaulting on diagonal ribs sustained 
by clusters of small Gothic columns backing up against the Roman piers, 
the latter being still visible. These heavy piers (composed of fourteen small 
columns) which surround the central nave, and whose capitals (photo, p. 108), 
with Barbaric wreathed astragals and foliage, recall the Carolingian period, 
contrast strikingly with the lightness of the apse. They are undoubtedly 
llth century. All the stone vaulting of the nave, as far as the transept, 


was replaced after 1839 with wood and plaster, which collapsed under the 
bombardments of 1918, when the roof was burnt. 

The pulpit, with its Benedictine monogram, is late 17th century. It is 

THE NAVE AND CHOIB IN 1914 (Clicht LL.) 


ornamented with three bas-reliefs : St. Remi receiving the Sacred Ampulla, 
St. Benedict imploring the Holy Spirit, and St. Benedict giving the Injunction 
to his monks. As far as the pulpit, on both sides of the nave, the granite 
columns resting on the piers date from the Gallo-Roman period. 

The side-aisles of the nave are surmounted with a triforium (photo above') 
with semi-circular vaulting at right-angles to the nave. The south aisle is 
almost entirely in ruins (photo, p. 107). 



The Tapestries 

The priceless tapestries which, before the war, decorated the tribunals 
of the side-aisles, were saved. 

Those given by Robert de Lenoncourt and restored by Les Gobelins, are 
rich in composition and decorative effect. In an architectural frame of the 
Renaissance period, they represent the following legendary scenes from the 
life of St. Remi, the costumes belonging to the period of Framois I. : 

1. The blind hermit Montanus visits the new-born Remi, who, touching him 
with his fingers wet with milk, restores his sight. 

2. The hermit St. Remi, called by the people to the bishopric, receives 
the mitre. 

3. Four miracles are performed by the saint : he extinguishes a fire lighted 
by demons in the city ; he restores life to a girl ; he is served at table by 
angels ; when wine ran short at the table of his cousin Celsa, he blessed an 
empty cask, which was immediately filled. 

4. The Battle of Tolbiac ; Clovis instructed and baptized by Remi ; 


SEPT. 4, 1914 
(See description, pp. 110, 111.) 


the miraculous dove and an angel bring from heaven the Sacred Ampulla 
and the fieur-de-lys scutcheon. 

5. Remi gives Clovis a cask of wine, telling him that he will always be 
victorious so long as the cask remains full ; a miller who refused to give his 
mill to the Church, sees his wheel turn the wrong way and his mill fall 
down ; St. Genebaud, Bishop of Soissons, punished by Remi for his sins, 
is afterwards delivered from his fetters by the saint. 

6. The miracle of Hydrissen : Remi raises a man from the dead, who 
confirms his wish to leave a portion of his wealth to the Church, to the con- 
fusion of his son-in-law who contested the will. 

7. Remi contemplating a heap of corn which he had collected to provide 
against famine, and which some drunkards had burnt. At a Council, Remi 
paralyses the tongue of a heretic priest, and then restores speech to him after 

8. Remi, singing Matins in the chapel of the Virgin, is assisted by St. Peter 
and St. Paul and blessed by Mary. Remi, blind, dictates his will in the 
presence of St. Genebaud and St. Medard. Remi recovers his sight, celebrates 
mass and gives the Communion to his clergy. Remi dies and four angels 
carry away his soul. 

9. Remi's funeral ; the procession goes towards the church of St. Timothy, 
where it is proposed to bury the saint, but in front of St. Christopher's, on 
the site of the present basilica, the saint, by making it impossible to lift his 
coffin, manifests his desire to be interred in this chapel. The saint's winding- 
sheet, carried in procession, dispels the plague that had been ravaging the 

10. Angels transfer the relics of the saint to his mausoleum. A soldier 
who had tried to break in the door of the church, cannot withdraw his foot. 
Remi punishes the Bishop of Mayence, guilty of theft. Remi reveals himself 
with the Virgin and St. John. The Archbishop of Rheims, Robert de Lenon- 
court, kneeling, presents the ten pieces of tapestry to the saint. 

The latter tapestry was riddled with splinters (photo, p. 110) during the 
bombardment of September 4, 1914. 

The Treasure 

This was kept in the sacristy, the 15th century carved wood doors of 
which have Flamboyant style frames. 

Formerly the richest of all the church treasures of France, it was impover- 
ished in the course of the centuries, through wars and revolutions. 

The enamels by Landin of Limoges (1633), dedicated to the lives of 
St. Timothy and St. Remi, a 12th century abbot's crazier, reliquaries 
and sacerdotal ornaments are noteworthy. 

The treasure was removed, together with the doors of the sacristy, by the 
Historical Monuments Department. 

The North Transept 

Three small white marble Gallo-Roman or Carolingian capitals crown the 
colonnettes of the triforium. 

Formerly, the church contained several tombs. Let into the wall of the 


north transept is a Latin epitaph, praising the virtues of a woman named 
Guiberge, who seems to have combined in her person the perfections of six 
women, i.e. the beauty of Rachel, the fidelity of Rebecca, the modesty of 
Susanna, the piety of Tabitha, the warm affections of Ruth, and the high 
morals of Anna. 


In the foreground : Renaissance Balustrade round the Choir (see p. 115), at 

the intersection of the Northern Transept. At the back: Inner side of the 

South Transept Door. 

The South Transept 

The first chapel on the right of the apse, against the transept, is the chapel 
of St. Eloi. 

In 1846, forty-eight storied flag-stones, taken from the flooring of the 
sanctuary of the church of St. Nicaise and collected by the architect Brunette, 
were placed there. 

These 14th century lozenge-shaped stones are engraved in black, the 
hollowed-out portions being filled with lead. Each stone has a pretty border 


with a square medallion, in the middle of which two or three figures represent 
a scene from the Old Testament, from Noah to Daniel in the lions' den. 

This chapel also contained two very expressive mediaeval statues of 
painted wood and a 14th century Christ, all of which came from the old church 
of St. Balsamic. 

The second chapel on the eastern side of the south transept contained an 
Entombment dating from 1531. In this group, which belonged to the old 
church of the Commandery of the Temple of Rheims, Joseph of Arimathea 
and Nicodemus hold the winding-sheet. Salome, and Mary the mother of 
St. James, stand near the tomb, while the Virgin, overcome with grief, is 
supported by St. John. 


Facing this Burial Scene was the Altar-screen of the Three Baptisms, 
the work of Nicolas Jacques and the gift of Jean Lespagnol in 1610. This 
screen, which formed the background of the baptismal fonts, represented in 
three bas-reliefs : The baptism of Clovis (on the right), the baptism of Jesus 
by John the Baptist (in the centre), and the baptism of Constantine (on the 

The railing round the baptismal fonts belongs to the second half of the 
18th century, and was taken from the church of St. Pierre-le-Vieil. 



The Choir of St. Remi Church 

The Choir was rebuilt by Pierre de Celle. The plan is very like that of the 
choir of the Cathedral, of which it is the prototype. 

As in the Cathedral, it intrudes upon the nave, of which it occupies the 
three last bays. In the latter, the columns placed against the six piers were 
removed. The groups of small columns which support the ribs of the vaulting 
rest upon a corbel-table carried by three consoles (photo above], which in turn 
rest on colonnettes with crocketed capitals. The central consoles are orna- 
mented with figures of angels and symbolic animals, while under the lateral 
consoles are statuettes of prophets holding scrolls, on which their names are 
inscribed in painted letters. 

Five circular radiating chapels open out on the vast ambulatory. The 
plan of the latter, like that of Notre-Dame-de-Chalons, evokes all that is most 
original in the Gothic architecture of Champagne. The bays with their 
alternations of square-ogival and triangular vaulting do not correspond 
with the breadth of the radiating chapels, which are connected to one another 
by three arcades resting on light columns. In the lower nave, from the 
curiously large number of points of support, it would seem that the builders 
had doubts as to the strength of the pointed style and, by way of precaution, 
greatly increased the number of points of support inside the church and of the 
exterior buttresses. The tribunes rising above the arcades are surmounted 
with a triforium lighted by high windows, which still retain their beautiful 
early 18th century stained-glass. The someAvhat stiff figures stand out on a 
uniformly blue ground. In the upper part, apostles, evangelists, and the 
sixteen greater prophets are grouped around a stately Virgin. In the lower 



part, the principal archbishops of Rheims on thrones are seated round St. Remi 
who occupies the place of honour below the Virgin. In the two last windows 
are effigies of Archbishops Samson (deceased in 1161) and Henry of France, 
during whose episcopate Pierre de Celle caused the apse to be built. 

The choir is surrounded by a Renaissance railing which is out of harmony 
with the general scheme. It was erected between 1656 and 1669, at the joint 
expense of the widow of the famous barrister Omer Talon, the Town Council, 
the Duke of Longueville, and the Grand Prior of St. Remi. The sculptor 
Fran9ois Jacques seems to have co-operated therewith. 

The great crown of light hanging at the entrance to the choir was an imita- 
tion of the original crown, destroyed in 1793, and which was garnished with 
ninety-six candles, symbolizing the ninety-six years of St. Remi's life (see 
p. 108). 

The 18th century high-altar of red marble which, like the cross and the 
six chandeliers, came from the church of the Minims, was crushed beneath 
the falling vaulting. 

At the time of the Revolution (1792) the chandelier (masterpiece of the 
old Rheims metal-founders), which adorned the centre of the Sanctuary, 
was broken and melted down, with the exception of a portion of one of the 
feet. This fragment (plioto above), preserved in the Archaeological Museum, 
was destroyed by the bombardment of 1914. 




The Tomb and Reliquary of St. Remi 

The present tomb, erected in 1847, is only a memorial of the sumptuous 
mausoleum, profusely decorated with gold medals, diamonds and sapphires, 
which was destroyed at the time of the Revolution. 

It is a Renaissance chapel, ornamented with the statues of the original 
tomb, which form by far the most interesting part of the monument. The 
twelve Peers are represented in their coronation robes : the Archbishop, 
Duke of Rheims, carries the Cross ; the Archbishop, Duke of Laon, the sceptre ; 
the Bishop, Count of Beauvais, the royal mantle ; the Bishop, Count of 
Chalons, the ring ; the Bishop, Count of Noyon, the girdle ; the Duke 
of Burgundy, the crown ; the Duke of Aquitaine, the standard ; the Duke of 
Normandy, a second standard ; the Count of Flanders, the sword ; the Count 
of Toulouse, the spurs ; the Count of Champagne, the military standard of 
the King. 

The Reliquary of St. Remi, which is in the mausoleum, dates from 1896. 
It was bought by national subscription and presented to the church on the 
occasion of the centenary of the baptism of Clevis. In the niches of the lower 
part of the reliquary are statuettes of the twelve apostles. Higher up, in 
the recesses of the long sides, enamels illustrating episodes in the life of St. Remi 
are imbedded. On the tAvo ends, two enamels represent the Battle of Tolbiac 
and the Baptism of Clovis. 


Leave, the Church of St. Remi by the western doorway, which faces the Place 
de VHopital civil, cross the square, then turn to the right into the Rue Simon. 
The entrance to the Hotel-Dieu Hospital is on the right. 

The H6tel-Dieu 

This hospital is installed in the buildings of the ancient Abbey of the 
Benedictine monks of St. Remi who, for centuries, were the guardians of the 
relics of the famous Bishop of Rheims. 

During the invasion, at the time of the Revolution, the Abbey was trans- 
formed into a military hospital, but it was only in 1827 that it became officially 
the Hotel-Dieu, in place of the old Municipal Hospital (see "Palais de Justice" 
p. 93). The furnishings of the latter were then transferred to the Abbey 
buildings, disaffected since the Restoration. 

Of the ancient abbey, where Charles-le-Simple and the Due Robert were 
proclaimed king, and where several archbishops were elected, only a few 
vestiges remain. Damaged by the fires of 1098, 1481, and 1751, it was com- 
pletely destroyed by the great conflagration of January 15, 1774. The 
present abbey, rebuilt by Duroche, the King's architect, was scarcely finished 
when the Revolution broke out. 

Incendiary bombs dropped by German aeroplanes in August, 1916, 
destroyed most of the buildings. 

The monumental fa9ade which faces the Court of Honour is Louis XVI. 
in style. 

The second court, that behind the main buildings, is bordered by a cloister 
built by the Rheims architect, Nicolas Bonhomme, in the first part of the 
18th century, in place of the 13th and 14th century cloister destroyed in 1707. 
The buttresses of the side which abuts on the church of St. Remi, and those 
of the opposite side, are 12th century. 

The marble fountain with bronze furnishings, in the centre of the court, 
was formerly in the Place St. Nicaise. It was erected in 1750 from designs 
by Coustou. 




Through the windows is seen the Forth Front of St. Remi. 

At the back of the court, on the left, is an exceedingly fine Louis XVI. 
staircase with wrought-iron handrail (photo above). 

The Lapidary Museum, which was formerly in the crypt of the archi- 
episcopal chapel (see p. 65), was installed under one of the galleries of the 
cloister in 1896. Of the tombstones, storied floor-tiles, and various carvings 
which it contains, the most remarkable is the Tomb of Jovinus. 

Consul in 367, Jovinus commanded the armies in Gaul, under the Emperor 
Julian, and successfully resisted three attempts at invasion by the Alemanni. 
As a Christian, he founded a basilica at Rheims. 

The white marble tomb with carvings is apparently Grseco-Roman of 
the 3rd century, and dates back before the time of Jovinus, who died in 370. 
It is possible that Jovinus had the first occupant of the tomb ejected, or 
that he bought an old sarcophagus and had his own portrait affixed to it. 

The chapel installed in the old library of the abbey contained some fine 
Louis XVI. wood carvings (see photo below of the ruins of the chapel). 



The chapter-house of the abbey, which served as a refectory, was rebuilt 
about the end of the 12th century. With its pointed arches, it belonged to 
the early period of Gothic architecture. The most remarkable portion was 
the vestibule facing the cloister. The decoration of the lateral arcades of 
the vestibule included Roman capitals, nearly all of which are intact (photo 
below), and which are of great value from the standpoint of the history of 
art and costumes. In the refectory were the Godard tables made out of a 
single branch of a gigantic oak-tree from the forest of St. Basle. They were 
given to the old Hotel-Dieu by Canon Godard, whose name is incrusted in 
lead in the wood, as a rebus : Go, followed by the figure of a dart (French : 

Near the chapter-house, a round-arched chamber was all that remained 
of the early portion of the abbey. 








After visiting the Hotel-Dieu, follow the Rue Simon, which skirts the Ecole 
tie Medecine, then turn to the right into the Rue St. Remi. At the end of same, 
take the Rue Gambetta on the left, and follow it as far as the Hdpital General 
on the right. 

The Hdpital General 

This is the old Order-House of the Jesuits, built at the beginning of the 
17th century. The refectory is ornamented with rich woodwork and paint- 
ings, by the Rheims artist Helart. Of greater interest is the library, 
situated under the gables, and which is reached by a fine staircase. The 
room is adorned with a profusion of wood-carvings and mouldings. Exceed- 
ingly fine consoles carry the ceiling, whose carved panels are profusely 
ornamented with crowns, polygons, florets and heads of angels. The oaken 
pilasters which separate the bookshelves are decorated with a variety of 
leaves and flowers. In spite of this wealth of ornament, the general effect is 
harmonious. The recesses in the woodwork, opposite the dummy dormer- 
windows, were for reading. 

Ancient vines cover the walls of the chapel, near the entrance to the 

At the side of the Hopital General stands the church of St. Maurice. 

This church was entirely rebuilt by the Jesuits after the destruction of the 
ancient edifice, which was one of the oldest in Rheims. Here may be seen 
the Eagle Reading-Desk, a fine piece of 17th century wood-carving ; two 
Louis XIV. portable iron desks and the paschal chandelier of carved wood ; 
the llth century confessionals of the lateral chapels, and in the sacristy 
remarkable Louis XIII., hand-embroidered guipures of open-work designs, 
after the style of the models by the Rheims artist, Georges Baussonnet. 

Return to the Place du Parvis, in front of the Cathedral, via the Rue Gambetta 
and its continuation, the Rue Chanzy. 




A thorough visit can be made in two days. 

The Itinerary for each day is divided into two parts, to allow tourists to 
return to Rheims for lunch. 

First Dav / Mornin g ' PP- 122-133. 

y \ Afternoon pp. 134-159. 

Second Day { Morning pp. 160-165. 

9 \ Afternoon pp. 166-174. 





(See the complete Itineraries on p. 121, and the summary of the war 
operations on p. 131.) 

This part of the Itinerary will take the tourist to the most important 
points of the last German offensive of 1918, which aimed at the capture of 

Starting from the Place du Parvis Notre-Dame, take the Sue Libergier, 
opposite the Cathedral, turn to the right into the Rue Chanzy, follow same as far 
as the Rue de Vesle, take the latter on the left, and follow it to the end. 

After the Porte de Paris (see p. 68) the Rue de Vesle becomes the Avenue 
de Paris. Take same, but after passing under the railway bridge, turn to the 
left into the Avenue d'Epernay (R.N. 51, see plan, p. 121). 

Take the second street on the right (Rue de Bezannes), which passes in front 
of the Western Cemetery, devastated by the bombardments. 

The road crosses numerous lines of trenches and boyaux, which defended 
the immediate approaches to Rheims. 


Before reaching Bezannes village, leave on the right two roads which skirt 
a large estate enclosed with railings, go straight on to the ruined railway -station 
of Bezannes, then turn to the right. 


(See Itinerary, p. 122.) 

Cross the. first group of half -ruined houses, then, on reaching a second group, 
which forms the main part of the village, turn to the left into the first street 
encountered, where the partially destroyed church stands. 

The round-vaulted apse, tower, nave and aisles all belong to the 
Romanesque period. The Gothic doorway is 13th, and the spire of the 
belfry 15th century. 

The square tower greatly resembles the old belfry on the doorway of 
St. Remi Church in Rheims, and, like the latter, dates apparently from the 
middle of the llth century. 

The Gothic doorway of the west front is set up against a Romanesque 
wall. The gable has been rebuilt in modern times. Vestiges of an ancient 
portal are to be found on each side of the doorway. The keystones of the 
arch above the tympanum, like those of the upper arching, are numbered in 
Roman figures, a peculiarity rarely to be found. 

Facing the doorway of the church, on the left of the great entrance-door 
to a court, is a niche containing a 16th century stone statue representing a 
bishop wearing a chasuble. 

In the court of the same house, over the door of the main structure, on 
the right, in an arched Renaissance niche, hollowed out and ornamented 
with marble incrustations, is the statue of a canon with folded hands 
kneeling at the foot of a cruci- 

A shell-splinter took off the 
head of the bishop's statue, but 
the other group is intact. 

Those interested in things pre- 
historic, may visit the Pistat 
Collection at Bezannes, which con- 
tains a great number of interesting 
specimens belonging to the stone 
and neolithic ages, and to the 
Gallic and Roman periods of the 

Of the old castles of Bezannes, 
nothing of interest remains. 

On September 11, 1914, during 
the Battle of the Marne, the 
German Staff took up their quar- 
ters in the house of M. Poullot. 
On the 12th, the battle attained 
the vicinity of the village. 

Skirt the church, and at the 
cross-roads at the end of the village, 
keep straight on, past the cemetery on, 
the right. CHURCH OF BEZANNES IN 1914 


The road climbs a small hill lined with trenches, then descends to the village of 
Lcs Mesneux. 

At the entrance to this village (which is of no particular interest) turn to 
the right, and at the fork about fiflj yards farther on, to the left, leaving the 
unmetalled road on the right. 

About half-a-mile from Les Mesneux and shortly before reaching the crossing 
with the road to Rheims (G.C. 6), there is a small wood at the place called 
Le Champ ciairon. It was from here that German batteries under Colonel 
von Roeder fired on Rheims on September 4, 1914, in spite of the protesta- 
tions of the Mayor of Les Mesneux, who assured the German commander 
that the French troops had completely evacuated the town. 

At the crossing with G.C. 6, keep straight on to Ormes, whose church, at the 
entrance to the village, was almost entirely destroyed. 


( See Itinerary, p. 122.) 

This village, in addition to numerous subterranean passages and chambers, 
possesses the interesting 12th century Church St. Remi (photo below). 

Its circular apse with cornice resting on corbels is barrel-vaulted. Colon- 
nettes in the great bays of the steeple (in ruins) carry carved 12th century 

The pointed vaulting of the southern transept is 12th century, and the 
ogival groining rests on Norman capitals. The doorway of the western 
fagade dates from the second half of the 12th century, and although its porch 
was destroyed in 1853 it is still remarkable. 




It comprises three tierce-pointed arcades surmounted by a line of billet- 
moulding. The lateral arcades are blind, while the higher central arcading 
around the door is surmounted with three receding tori resting on crocketed 
foliate capitals. The lateral arcades have similar capitals but only one 

Inside the church are interesting 16th century statues: St. Barbara 
in stone and St. Catharine, painted and decorated, face the altar ; St. Remi 
in stone, remarkable for its costume and decoration, stands above the altar 
of the northern chapel ; a wooden Virgin surmounts the inner doorway. 




Note the cammtflaging. 

Return by the same road to the crossing with the road io Rheims (G.C. 6), 
where, opposite the Cat6 du Joyeux Laboureur, turn to the right. 

The road rises towards the Mountain of Rheims. Of the camouflaging 
seen in above photograph, only traces remain. 

Shortly after, the tourist passes between the villages of Jouy and, Pargny, 
whose houses border the road. Jouy (on the left) and Pargny (on the right) were 
bombarded by the Germans in June, 1915. 

The Church of Jouy, visible from the road to Rheims, was almost 
entirely destroyed. 

To visit the church of Pargny, turn to the right opposite the grocery stores, 
No. 262, then take the second street on the left (near a fine mansion partly in 

About 100 yards farther on is the church, the belfry of which was destroyed. 
Return to the crossing with the main road to Rheims, where turn to the right. 

The road continues to climb the northern slopes of the Mountain of Rheims. 
On a hill to the left, the Chapel of St. Lie dominates the surrounding plain. 
There is a very fine view of Rheims from here. 

The top of the rise is reached soon afterwards. Descend the southern slopes, 
passing between the sidings of an important material and ammunition depot 
situated on the reverse side of the mountain out of sight of the enemy's 
observation-posts. On reaching the crossing half-way down the hill, leave on 
the left the two roads leading respectively to Vine Do m mange and Courmas 

A short distance further on, after passing the road to Onrezy (on the left), 
take the following narrow road on the left, which passes between clumps of trees 
that were cut to pieces by shell -fire. 

A little further on, on the right, is a cemetery containing the graves of some 
two hundred French, British and Italian soldiers. 

Turn to the right after the cemetery. The road crosses a fine avenue bordered 
with shell-torn poplar trees, leading to the Castle of Commetreuil on the 
left. The village of Bouiiiy is reached soon afterwards. 


(going towards St. Euphraite). 

Bouilly St Euphraisc Clixirizct 

(See pp. 131-132, and, Itinerary, p. 122.) 

Bouilly was burnt by the Germans on September 12, 1914, under the 
pretext that the inhabitants had caused the death of two Uhlans killed the 
day before by French Chasseurs. 

Turn to the right opposite the Church of Bouilly. There is a small cemetery 
on the right, just outside the village, containing several German graves. 

On reaching G.C. 6, leading to Rheims, turn to the right. Take tihe first 
road on the left, which passes through a small devastated wood, where batteries 
of guns were posted. Cross a small stream, and immediately afterwards the 
railway, then turn to the left into the village of St. Euphraise. 

Turn to the right in the village, opposite the church. The road rises steeply 
to the hamlet of Clairizet, which was almost entirely destroyed. Pass by 
a " Calvary," composed of four large trees surrounding a cross, then turn to 
the left into a small narrow street. 




Coulommes-la-Montagne Vrigny 

(See Itinerary, p. 122.) 

The road rises, then descends to Couiommes-ia-Montagne. Turn to the 
fight at the entrance to the village. The church, in ruins, is on the left. 

At the cross-roads just outside the village take G.C. 26 on the left. At 
first, the road dips rather abruptly, then rises to Vrigny. 

The Church of Vrigny, entirely in ruins, is on the right at the entrance to 
the village. Pass the Town Hall, leaving a public washing-place on the left, 
then turn to the right. 

On having the village, take G.C. 26 on the left to the village of Gueux. 





(See pp. 131-132 and Itinerary, p. 122.) 

Gueux is a small old-world village, with ancient houses, castle and church. 

At the entrance to the village, a large square with trees, cut to pieces and 
devastated by the bombardment. 

From the square, go to the Church on the right, now a heap of ruins. Seen 
thro.ugh the trees from the square it forms a pitiful sight. 

In the chapel, on the left of the main entrance, there was a fine piece of 
Renaissance carving. 

It was to Gueux that the Archbishop of Rheims, Mgr. Lu9on, betook 
himself after the bombardments of April, 1917. The village cemetery contains 

Cardinal Litton coming out of the Church (see above.) 



many soldiers' graves. The Cardinal-Archbishop of Rheims presided at 
a pathetic ceremony held during the War in honour of the dead. 

To visit the Castle, cross the square and take a small street on the left, which 
leads to the road to Rosnay (G.C. 27). 

Turn to the left, and fifty yards further on take on foot the narrow street on 
the left, which leads to the old castle. 

This ancient castle, where the Kings of France, on their way to Rheims to 
be consecrated, used to dine, suffered severely from the bombardments. 
Outwardly it has, however, retained its general appearance (photo above). 

Return to the car, and go straight on to the fork in the roads to Rosnay and 
Premecy. Facing the fork is the entrance to the park and modern Castle of 
GUCUX, belonging to the Roederer family, which was completely destroyed 
(photo below). 

Turn the car round at the above-mentioned fork and continue straight along 
G.C. 27. 

Beyond the village of Gueux the road crosses numerous lines of trenches. 
Many shelters and ammunition depots can still be seen along the road. The 
National Road from Rheims to Soissons (N. 31) is reached soon afterwards. 
Near the cross-ways are the ruins of an inn. 

At this crossing, leave the National Road on the left and take the narrow road 
on the right which leads to Thiiiois. 




(See Itinerary, p. 122.) 

The Church of Thillois (late 12th century), now a heap of ruins, stood 
at the entrance to the village. 

In 1914 it was still intact in all its vital parts. Its vaulting was pointed, 
with groining resting on columns, whose capitals were either Romanesque 
or Gothic. The nave had a timber roof. 

The high-altar screen was a fine piece of sculptured stone-work of late 
16th or early 17th century. In a niche above the altar, the Virgin, sitting on 
an X-shaped seat, was holding Jesus, clothed in a tunic and standing on her 

Leaving the church behind on the right, turn to the left, to reach the National 
Road. On the right is a small 18th century castle, behind a clump of fine stately 
trees, known as the Bosquet de Thillois. It was destroyed by shells. 

Return to the National Road, turn to the right at the cross-roads, leaving on 
the left the road to Champigny, then return direct to Rheims, entering the city by 
the Avenue and Porte de Paris. 

The Mountain of Rheims Battles 

(Seep. Uandp. 122. 

The fighting known as the Batiks of the Mountain of Rheims took place in 
1918 over the whole of the area described above, i.e. from Bouilly to Thillois, 
via St. Euphraise, Coulommes, Vrigny and Gueux (see the Michelin Illustrated 
Guide : The Second Battle of the Marne}. 

The Mountain of Rheims prolongs the region of Tardenois to the east. 
It is an important military position between the Vesle and the Marne, as it 
dominates the plain of Champagne. The higher part of it is finely wooded, 
while on the lower slopes and eastern and southern edges are the famous 
Champagne vineyards (see Verzenay, pp. 171-172). 


CBI'gnjfc tournSs ^ <S . 

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During the year 1918 the Germans made tremendous efforts to carry this 
position, the loss of which would have meant the fall of Rheims, leaving 
Epernay and Chalons-sur-Marne unprotected. 

Although held to the east of Mountain, they obtained important successes 
on the west, where they reached the Marne, while in May they occupied the 
Woods of Courton and Le Roi. In July they crossed the Marne and advanced 
as far as Montvoisin, on the road to Epernay. Very fierce fighting took place, 
especially to the north-west of the Mountain at Bouiily. Biigny, 
St. Euphraise and Vrigny. These positions, and Hill 240 to the west of 
Vrigny, were several times lost and recaptured by the Allied troops under 
General Berthelot, French, Italian and British, who fought there side by side. 

Vrigny was taken by the Germans on May 30, but retaken by the Allies 
on June 1 at the point of the bayonet. The same evening, four German 
regiments, after progressing slightly in the direction of Hill 240, were first 
checked, then driven back after bitter hand-to-hand fighting. 

On June 9, the Germans were repulsed around Vrigny, after having sus- 
tained severe losses. On the 23rd, they rushed Bligny Hill, held by Italian 
troops, reaching the summit, but were shortly afterwards driven back. On 
the 29th, they sustained a like check at the same place. 

In July they advanced their lines slightly towards Marfaux, Pourcy and 
Cuchery, but were unable to hold the captured ground. On the 18th, the 
Italians advanced in the region of Bouiily. On the 19th, Franco-British 
troops progressed towards St. Euphraise. On the 21st, the Allies carried 
Bouiily and St. Euphraise. On the 24th and 25th, in spite of desperate 
repeated efforts, the Germans were unable to hold Hill 240 which they had 


temporarily captured. On August 1 further enemy efforts to carry the 
Bligny uplands failed. 

The region of Gueux Thillois Champigny was terribly ravaged by 
the war. 

On September llth, 1914, the French 5th Division, under General Mangin, 
drove the enemy from these positions, which remained in the French lines 
until May 30, 1918. Occupied by the Germans on May 31, after fierce 
fighting, they were completely devastated by artillery fire. Retaken by the 
French, then lost again in July, Thillois was finally recaptured on August 2, 
at the same time as Gueux. 

On August 4, after having reached the Vesle at several points east of 
Fismes, French troops engaged a vigorous battle between Muizon and 
Champigny, and some of them succeeded in crossing the river the same day. 

Champagne Wine 

Wine-growing has always been a favourite industry in this part of France. 
The vineyards extend over the Rheims hills and along the valley of the Marne. 
In the hilly country around Rheims there are two distinct growths of wine : 
the Montague proper, with its famous Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Ludes, Rilty 
and Vilkrs " crus," and the Petite Montague with its secondary " cms " of 
the Tardenois Valley, Hermonville Hills, St. Thierry, Nogent VAbbesse and 
Cernay-les-Reims. The Montagne produces more especially black grapes for 
white wines. 

Champagne wines were famous as far back as the 16th and 17th centuries. 
Henri IV. had a marked preference for the wines of Ay. The magnitude of 
the cellars still to be seen in the 16th and 17th century houses testifies to the 
importance of a trade, whose main outlets were Paris, Flanders, Belgium and 

The Champagne wines of thiat period were red, and rivals of the famous 
Burgundy wines. 

The vogue of Champagne wines as understood to-day dates back to the 
end of the 17th century. It was Dom Perignon, cellarer of the Abbey of 
Hautevillers, near Epernay, who, if not actually the inventor of sparkling 
wines, first undertook to perfect them by blending the "crus" and preparing 
them with greater care. 

In the last years of the reign of Louis XIV., and still more so under the 
Regency, the use of Champagne at Court gained ground, especially at the 
tables of the Due de Vendome and the Marquis de Sillery. 

At that tune Champagne was merely a " creamy " wine, i.e. semi- 
sparkling. The low breaking strain of the glass of those days would not 
have allowed of the higher pressure (six atmospheres) of the present-day 
wine. The discovery of the chemist Fra^ois, who in 1836 at Chalons invented 
a special " densimeter," made it possible to calculate the amount of carbonic 
acid gas contained in the must, and to proportion the expansive force of the 
wine to the strength of the bottles, thus reducing losses by breakage, which 
for long had been very serious. 

From the 19th century onwards, the production of Champagne wine has 
grown unceasingly. The number of bottles of sparkling Champagne placed 
on the market for sale in France and abroad rose from 19,145,481 (of which 
16,705,719 went abroad) between April, 1875, and April, 1876, to 33,171,395 
(of which 23,056.847 went abroad) between April, 1906 and April, 1907. During 
the first ten months of 1915, the exports of Champagne and sparkling wines 
were 630,140 wine-quarts, as against 1,092,660 wine quarts in 1914. 





(See complete Itineraries, p. 121, and summary of the military operations, 
pp. 147 and 154.) 








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Starting from the Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, follow the morning's Itinerary 
(p. 122) as far as the railway bridge, then continue straight along the Avenue 
de Paris (N. 31). Before leaving Rheims the tourist can, if desired, visit 
Haubette Park. In this case, turn to the left, opposite No. 10, Avenue 
de Paris, into the Rue Flin des Oliviers. The entrance to Haubette Park 
(an annex of the Calmette Dispensary) stands at the beginning of this street, on 
the right. 

Napoleon I. bivouacked in this park while his troops attacked Rheims in 
1814. A monument and a small museum commemr rate the event. At the 
end of 1914 Haubette Park was a favourite recreation ground and refuge 
for the inhabitants of the city during the bombardments. 

Return to the junction of N. 31 (which leads to Fismes) with G.C. 6 (the road 
to Ville-en-Tardenois). Take N. 31 on the right. About 1 km. from the fork take 
the first road on the right. 

On reaching Tinqueux turn to the left at the entrance to the village, and 
follow the main road. 

Tinqueux Mont St. Pierre 

The church of Tinqueux (St. Peter's) was entirely destroyed. It contained, 
on the left side of the nave, a remarkable 16th century painting on wood, 
representing the Adoration of the Shepherds, with a frame of the same 

Near the church, between the Vesle and the main street of the village, stood an 
old baronial mansion, in front of which was a building with turreted facade 
known as the Maison de la Salle. Inside the buildingg which, in later 
years, served as a farm, there was a curious old wooden staircase with railed 
balustrade. The whole was destroyed by the shells. 

In September, 1914, at the beginning of the bombardment of Rheims, 
many of the people took refuge at Tinqueux. 

At the end of the main street of the village, opposite a kind of observation-post 
tvith ladder in a tree, turn to the right. The road passes at the foot of Mont St. 
Pierre, whose village and church entirely disappeared in the 17th century. 



It was to replace the church of Mont St. Pierre that the church of St. Pierre 
de Tinqueux was built at the end of the 17th century. 

The roads turns abruptly and nears the Vesle. Turn to the right and cross the 
river to reach St. BMCC. 

St, Brice Champig-ny Merfy 

(See Itinerary, p. 134.) 

Turn to the right at the entrance to the village and take the first street on the 
right, ivhich leads to the church. 

The Church of St. Brice was almost entirely destroyed. In style, it is 


Romanesque, with Renaissance doorway and aisles. The door of the west 
front contains interesting carvings unhappily much mutilated. 

Return by the same way to the cross-roads in front of the bridge over the Vesle, 
turn to the right, then, about 150 yards further on, to the left. Continue straight 
ahead, cross the railway (I.e.) and folloiv the railway on the left. 

About half a mile further on an avenue on the right leads to the Chateau 
de la Maiie. Both the castle and grounds were badly damaged by the 

Standing in the park with magnificent avenues of beech-trees, the castle 
is one of the most ancient manors in the vicinity of Rheims. It was rebuilt 
in one storey at the beginning of the 14th century on the old foundations. 
The decoration of the interior (Louis XVI.) is interesting. The drawing- 
room has retained its old wainscoting and paintings. A carved shield bearing 


the arms of the Cauchon family, a member of which, the Bishop of Beauvais, 
sided with the English and the Duke of Burgundy against the Dauphin of 
France and Joan of Arc during the Hundred Years' War, is still to be seen 
over a door of one of the out-buildings. 

Return by the same road to the Vesle. Cross the river and follow it (.s />< / 
Itinerary, p. 134), to the village of Champigny. 

Cross straight through the village by the main street, at the end of which 
stands the church in a narrow by-street near the entrance to a park (photo, 
p. 136). 

The little church of St. Theodule is 12th century, except the wooden belfry, 
which was modern. The belfry and roof were destroyed. 


General Foch had his Headquarters there in 1914. 

On having the village, go straight aJiead. The road (G.C. 75) follows the 
railway on the left. Cross the railway (I.e.). The road passes along the marshy 
valley of the Vesle, then rises towards the St. Thierry Heights. 

At the cross-roads of the hamlet of Maco, keep straight on along G.C. 26. 
The road runs between two fairly high embankments containing numerous 
shelters. Slightly before entering the village of Mcrfy is a cemetery con- 
taining graves of French, British and German soldiers. 

At the entrance to the same village, on the right, stands a castle, severely 
damaged, which, early in September, 1914, served as headquarters to General 
Foch (photo above). 

A little farther is the church, almost entirely destroyed. 

At the church, turn to the right and follow the main street, which is lined with 
houses in ruins. 

On leaving Merfy, cross the railway (I.e.). 
reachzd shortly afterwards. 

The village of 8t Thierry is 



The sign and camouflaging are German. 





See other photos, p. 140. 

St. Thierry 

(See Itinerary, p. 134, and summary of the. Military Operations, p. 147.) 

This village was frequently bombarded by the Germans from 1914 to 
1918. It is crossed by a narrow, winding street containing several sharp turnings. 
Shortly before the end of the village, the street widens abruptly. About a hundred 
yards further on is the church, while on the right a monumental door gives access 
to the chateau of St. Thierry (photos, p. 138). 

This castle was built in 1777 by Mgr. de Talleyrand -Per igord, Archbishop 
of Rheims. It replaced the ancient abbey founded in the 6th century by 
St. Thierry, a disciple of St. Remi. Remains of the 12th century chapter- 
house, ogives, colonnettes and capitals, as well as an old chimney-piece, 
have been rebuilt into the kitchens. The spacious Louis XVI. drawing- 
room and the dining-room were likewise remarkable. 

The church (see photos above and on p. 140) possessed certain remarkable 
features, e.g. the porch, nave and organ-loft. The 12th century porch had a 
17th century pent-house roof. 

Inside the church were Gothic stalls, and a 16th century bas-relief depicting 
The Martyrdom of St.Quentin. 

The church is now in ruins. 

Opposite the castle gate turn to the left into G.C. 26. 

In the embankments along the road are numerous shelters, posts of com- 
mandment, ammunition depots, etc. 











Thil Villers-Franqueux 

(See Itinerary, p. 134.) 

On reaching Thil, turn to the kft at the entrance to the village. Go straight 

The church, entirely in ruins, stands at the end of the village, on a small 
eminence to the right. 

Half-way through the village, on the left, is a road which leads to the St. 
Thierry Fort, via the village of Pouillon. 

The road from Thil to Cormicy was the starting-point of the communicating 
trenches which led to the first lines along the National Road No. 44 and 
along the canal from the Aisne to the Marne, during the long stabilisation 
period of the Berry-au-Bac Rheims front. All along the road can still be 
seen, practically intact, the military works which were in the immediate 
rear of the front lines, viz., posts of commandment, depots, shelters, etc. 
At the present time, close to the destroyed villages, these shelters are being 
used by the people as habitations. 

Beyond Thil, the road passes between two embankments. vniers-Fran- 
queux is soon reached. The ruined village and church are somewhat to ihe 








Follow the rails, straight ahead, to Hermonville. 

Turn to the left, at the entrance to the village, into the large square, on the 
opposite side of which stands the Town Hall, partially destroyed. The 
Church is on the right. 

This remarkable church is 12th century. The pointed vaulting of the 
nave was raised in 1870, but this had been provided for in the original plans. 
At the intersection of the transept the pointed vaulting is lower. The capitals 
with their finely carved palm-leaves appear to be rather more recent than 
those of the nave, and extend frieze-like round the pillars. The bays of the 
transept-arms and of the two square eastern chapels are round-arched and 
surmounted with a quatrefoil an arrangement frequently met with in the 
vicinity of Rheims. 

The outer porch, like that of Caurcy-les-Hermonville and St. Thierry, 
is a 12th century addition. The depressed arch of the entrance is 17th 

The square tower at the corner of the nave and south transept has cubic 
capitals in the twin bays of the second storey. 

The ancient cemetery, which used to surround the church, is bordered 
by old houses. Entrance was gained by a little gate facing the porch, in 
which are incrusted fragments of a 15th century altar-screen representing a 
horseman and a group of persons. 

The village was frequently bombarded by the Germans after the Battle 
of the Marne. In 1916 several inhabitants were killed by shells. 

Leave the church on the right, and follow the Rue Sebastopol, at the end of 
which is an abrupt turning to the left. The road skirts a large house and garden 
surrounded by a wall. At the end of the latter, turn to the right into the Rue 
de Somtnerville. On leaving the village, turn to the left, then go straight on to 



Turn to the right at the, entrance to the village, then into the first street on the 
left, where stands the half -destroyed Church of N6tre-Dame. 

This Church (historical monument) has an original 12th century porch, 
which was mutilated by the bombardments. 

Romanesque in style, it stands out from the remainder of the building 
and extends over the whole breadth of the west front. Its tile-covered roof 
rests on a timber -work frame, whose beams appear to be 16th century. Two 
round-arched openings in the ends of the porch serve as entrances. The 
front is pierced with a number of round arcades. The central door giving 
access to the church is of a later date (16th or 17th century). The capitals 
of the arcadings are 12th century. Their curious decoration represents 
figures of men, animals, birds scrolls, etc. 

The ruined tower and nave were likewise 12th century. The side-chapels, 
transept-crossing and choir were rebuilt in the 16th century. 



(Seen from the Porch of the Church. To go from Cauroy to Cormicy, 
take this street opposite the Church.) 

In the interior of the church, the wooden altar-screen over the high-altar 
dated from 1616. The painting which decorated its central panel, and the 
side wood-work of the choir were removed in 1888. The altar-scresn (1547) 
of the southern side-chapel was composed of an assemblage of stone statues 
representing The Virgin carrying Jesus, St. Roch, a pilgrim, and St. Stephen, 
a deacon, with the donor kneeling at his feet. 

Under several of the houses in the village are subterranean passages, the 
most noteworthy being that under the old presbytery on the left of the 
church, to which access is gained by a stair of fifty-one steps. 

Leave the village of Cauroy by the street (photo, p. 145) which opens up 
opposite the church. 

The road passes through clumps of devastated trees. On the left side of 
the road is a cemetery, containing numerous well-organised shelters. The 
village of Cormicy is next reached. 


(See Itinerary, p. 134.) 

Turn to the right at the entrance to the village. On either side are tree-lined 
boulevards, which were made on the ancient ramparts. The trees have been 
cut to pieces by the shells. 

Cormicy was formerly a small fortified town with turret, gates, ramparts 
and moats, all of which have disappeared except one gate. The site was 
planted with trees, which surround practically the whole town. The town 
was destroyed in the time of Charles VI., during th3 Hundred Years' 

The present village suffered severely during the German bombardments,, 
most of the houses being damaged. In June, 1916, only eighty-three* 
inhabitants remained in their homes. 



The ancient Church was likewise badly damaged (photos above and below). 
While the tower, west front, and the two first bays of the nave are late 15th 
or early 16th century, the greater part of the nave is llth or 12th century. 
The chevet and the transept- crossing are early 13th century, while the transept 
ends probably date from the middle of 12th century. 

The portal comprises twin doors surmounted with a broad flamboyant 
recess. The doors have been partially mutilated. Above the window 



(See Itinerary, p. 134. ) 

runs a balcony, the Gothic balustrade of which, known as the Gloria Gallery, 
was modern. This balustrade was destroyed by the bombardments, which 
also brought down the steeple. 

The west front has two Gothic doors with 16th century iron-work, at the 
extremity of the aisles. The tympana of these doors, formerly lighted, 
have been bricked up. The lintels have three consoles ornamented with 
fantastic animals and banderoles. The three statues which carried the 
consoles have long since disappeared. 

In the south transept, on the left, behind the altar, is an interesting small 
door surmounted with a square lintel of the llth or 12th century. Two 
figures of winged monsters with heads of a man and a woman and fish tails, 
stand out in high relief , framed and separated by a belt, on which are carved 
florets mingled with fantastic figures. 

The three remarkable 18th century marble altars of the choir and transept 
chapels come from the Church of the Nuns of Longueau, the abbey of which, 
in the Rue du Jard at Rheims, was sold in 1790. The high-altar occupies 
nearly the whole of the chancel. Over the tomb, six columns of grey Dinant 
marble, crowned with Corinthian capitals, support an oval marble cornice 
with richly carved and gilt consoles of wood. The very large, white and gilt 
tabernacle is a fine example of 17th or 18th century wood-work. Its door, 
decorated with symbolic attributes, is surrounded by statuettes depicting, 
in the lower part, St. John the Evangelist and a holy woman wearing 
crowns ; above each of these figures, an angel ; at the top, The Resurrection 
of Christ. 

The sixteen carved oak stalls of the choir, as well as the wrought-iron 
reading-desk on a marble pedestal, also came from the former Abbey of 

Near the choir, on a pillar of the nave, is an inscription to the effect that 
the chronicler Flodoard, who died in 966, was Cure of Cormicy. 

The modern Town Hall, built by the Rheims architect, Gosset the elder, 
which faced the church, was entirely destroyed. 



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All the places visited since leaving Merfy, i.e. St. Thierry, Thil, Villers- 
Farnqueux, Hermonville and Cormicy, border the St. Thierry Heights. 
The latter are commanded by the fort of the same name and the Chenay 
Redoubt, with altitudes of about 670 and 620 feet respectively. They were 
recaptured from the Germans after the Battle of theMarne on September 11, 
1914, by the French 3rd Corps. 

After the loss of the Chemin-des-Dames and the Aisne Canal on May 27, 
1918, this position, which with its guns commands the road and railway 
from Rheims to Soissons and the road from Rheims to Laon. remained the 
sole protection of Rheims to the north-west. 

It was defended by the French 45th Infantry Division (General Naulin), 
composed of Algerian Sharp-shooters, Zouaves and African Light Infantry, 
who held their ground on May 27-28, after which they were reinforced 
by battalions of Singalese and Marines drawn from the sector east of 

The struggle was a fierce one, and hand-to-hand fighting frequent. Finally 
the constant inflow of German reserves forced back the French, who, on May 
29, had to abandon the position, to which the enemy afterwards clung for 
four months. On October 1 the Germans, beaten on the previous evening 
by the French 5th Army on the high ground between the Aisne and Rheims, 
was forced to retreat. The French regained possession of Merfy and St. 
Thierry, and advanced as far as the outskirts of the Fort of St. Thierry, 
which, with Thil and Villers-Franqueux, Hermonville, Courcy and Cormicy, 
fell into their hands in the course of tfe 6 next few days (see map above). 



From Cormicy to Godat Farm 

(See Itinerary, p. 134.) 

Pass straight through Cormicy, leaving the church on the left. Take G.C. 32 to 
the Rheims-Laon road (N. 44), where turn to the right. Rather less than a mile 
further on, near the Maison Blanche, is a road leading to Godat Farm. Cars 
can only go as far as the canal, the destroyed bridge (photo above) not having 
yet been rebuilt. The lock-keeper's house seen in the photograph below was 
completely destroyed. 

Cross the canal on foot to reach Godat Farm, situated about 300 yards 
further on. 

Le Godat, formerly a small fief with a castle and chapel (destroyed during 
the Revolution in 1793), was merely a farm and a plain country house when 


(Xow destroyed.) 



the war broke out. By reason of its position, north of the Aisne Canal, 
this bridgehead was, throughout the war, one of the most fiercely disputed 
points in the sector north-west of Rheims, even during the period of trench- 
warfare. At the time of the French offensive of April, 1917, the 44th Infantry 
Regiment advanced beyond Le Godat, where the French held their ground 
until the powerful German push of May 27, 1918. 

The farm is now mere heap of ruins. Shelters still exist in the basements. 

Return to the National Road, and turn to the left. 

The road crosses numerous boyaux which provided access to the front-line 
trenches down the hill on the right. 

Fottoiv the National Road to Chauffeur Farm (in ruins), where take tJie 
road on the left to Loiwre. 

On nearing the canal, the ruins of the village of Loivre (entirely destroyed) 
become visible. 




From Loivrc to Brimont 

Lolvre. Visit the village on foot. The canal can only be crossed near tne 
lock south-east of the village. The destroyed bridge has been replaced by a 
temporary footway across the bed of the canal, which necessitates climbing 
down and up the banks by steep paths. 

After crossing tlie canal the, tourist passes by the ruins of the Loivre Glass- 
Works, founded in 1864 by the descendants of the noble house of Bigault de 
Grandrupt, glass manufacturers of Argonne. 

Loivre and its glass-works were occupied in September, 1914, by the Ger- 
mans, who deported the inhabitants to the Ardennes. The village and works 




were re-captured during the offensive of April 16, 1917, by the French 23rd 
and 133rd Infantry Regiments, surnamed Les Braves and Les Lions respec- 
tively. Whilst other battalions outflanked the village and crossed the canal, 
the third battalion of Lions attacked it in front. The position, powerfully 
organised, was stoutly defended. The attacking troops were obliged to come 
to a halt in front of the cemetery (a veritable bastion with concrete casemates), 
and before the ruins of the mill, both of which bristled with machine-guns. 
Withdrawing slightly to allow of a barrage of 75' s, they rushed forward again 
under the protection of the latter. The site of the mill and the cemetery 
were captured, together with numerous prisoners (122 were taken in one 
machine-gun shelter). The ruined village was next carried in a bayonet 
charge, to the sound of the bugles. The captures were considerable, one 
battalion of 500 men alone taking 825 prisoners. 

In March and May, 1918, two violent attacks were made on Loivre by the 
Germans, but without success. They took it on May 27, only to be driven 
out on October 4. 

Before the war, a road, which has since completely disappeared, led direct 
from Loivre to Brimont. To reach the latter it is now necessary to go farther 
north, via Bermericourt and Orainville, returning southwards by the Neufcfuitel 
to Rheims road (see Itinerary, p. 134). 

. This hamlet, of Gallo-Frankish origin, was formerly 
more populous. The bombardments have literally wiped it out. 

From Bermericourt the tourist reaches Orainville by G.C. 30, which becomes 
I.C. 2 after crossing the boundary line between the " departments " of the Marne 
and the Ardennes. At the entrance to the ruined village, near the church, turn 
to the right into I.C. 12, which, 1 kilometre further on, joins the road from 
Neufchdtel to Rheims (G.C. 9), where turn to the right. 

Follow this road for four and a Jialf kilometres to the ruins of Landau Farm, 
turn to the right, then, about 200 yards further on, take the road on the left to the 
village of Brimont, entirely destroyed. 



Brimont Fort and Chateau 

(See Itinerary, p. 134, and summary of itie Military Operations, p. 154.) 

Situated to the west of the road from Rheims to Neufchatel (formerly a 
Roman causeway which crossed the hill at Cran de Brimont) Brimont was 
already important in Roman times. It was fortified in the Middle Ages, 
and traces of its ancient fortifications are still to be found on the hill. The 
discovery of a Roman tomb in 1790 caused considerable excitement in archaeo- 
logical circles, as it was believed to be the burial-place of the Frankish Chief 
Pharamond who, according to one chronicler, had been buried on a hillock 
near Rheims. 

In 1339, daring the siege of Rheims by the English, the Duke of Lancaster 
had his camp at Brimont. 


In the foreground, on the left : Road to Brimont Fort. On the right : Beginning of the 
road to the Chateau (entirely destroyed). 



On several occasions, since September, 1914, the Germans deported the 
inhabitants of Brimont and Coucy to the Ardennes. The village is now 
destroyed and its church a heap of ruins. 

The church was built at the beginning of the 15th century. 

The four last bays of the nave, which was partly Romanesque, were 
altered in the middle of the 16th century. 

The sacristy occupied the lower storey of the square, pointed- arch tower. 

Several ancient statues were placed at the entrance to the Choir : St 
Remi, with a woman in late 15th century dress kneeling at his feet ; a Virgin 
offering grapes to the Infant Jesus in her arms (late 15th century) and a 
large Christ Crucified, dated from the middle of the 16th century. A beautiful 
18th century lectern of carved wood, representing an eagle standing on a 
massive three-sided pedestal of red and white marble, stood in front of the 



To visit the Fort of Brimont, skirt the church on the side of the portal 
staircase, then take the road seen on the photograph on p. 152. The Fort is 
about 400 yards fiirther on. 

The Defences North of Rheims and the Fighting: 
in that Sector 

The Fort of Brimont, completed by the Battery of the Cran de 
Brimont about a mile to the east, and on the west by the Loivre Battery, 
mentioned on page 151, sweeps the whole country north of Rheims as far as 

The roads shoivn on the above map are those followed by the Third Itimrary (see p. 160). 

the banks of the Aisne, Suippe, Retourne and the Aisne-Marne canal, the 
Rheims-Neufchatel, Rheims-Vouziers, Rheims-Rethel and Rheims-Laon 
roads, and the Rheims-Laon and Rheims-Charleville railways. About 
five miles east of Brimont and four miles east of Rheims is the position of 
Berru (see p. 165), extending along a front of about six miles, via the hills 
of Berru and Nogent 1'Abbesse. Intended by those who planned it to guard 
the valley of the Suippe, the Rheims-Rethe and Rheims-Vouziers roads, 
as well as the Rheims-Charleville and Rheims-Chalons-sur-Marne railways, 
it comprises the Fort of Witry (about 150 feet in altitude), the batteries of 
La Vigie de Berru (870 feet), and the fort and batteries of Nogent- 
I'Abbesse (670 feet). 

Brimont and Berru are further covered and linked up by the Fort of 
Fresne (360 feet), situated four miles north-east of Rheims. 


These defensive works, conceived and executed after the war of 1870, had, 
m consequence of the evolution of strategical and tactical doctrines, been 
abandoned or disarmed before the war of 1914. After evacuating Rheims 
on September 12, 1914, the Germans grasped the importance of these 
works, to which they clung tenaciously, after hurriedly organising them. It 
was against these naturally strong positions, further strengthened by trenches, 
that the French 5th Army, in pursuit of the enemy, found themselves brought 
to a standstill on the evening of September 12. From September 13 to 
18, the French tried in vain to capture them. The 5th Division, under 
General Mangin, did succeed in capturing the Chateau de Brimont, in the 
plain, but were unable to hold it. 

Later, the Germans converted these hills into one of the most formidable 
positions organised by them in France. Brimont, Berru, Fresne and Nogent 
1'Abbesse, whose guns slowly destroyed Rheims, were, so to speak, her jailers 
for four years. 

In April, 1917, during the French offensive of the Aisne, one division, 
known as the " Division of aces " (because its four regiments have the 
fourragere decoration), penetrated into Bermericourt and advanced to the 
outskirts of Brimont, but was unable to hold its ground against the furious 
counter-attacks of the Germans. It was only in October, 1918, that the 
French 5th Army, in conjunction with the victorious attacks of the 4th Army 
in Champagne, after forcing the Germans back to the Aisne and the canal, 
and after crossing the Aisne canal on October 4 in front of Loivre and 
near Bermericourt, forced the enemy, whose communications were now 
threatened, to abandon one of the most valuable portions of his 1914 positions. 
On October 5, the French re-entered Brimont and Nogent 1'Abbesse, 
progressed beyond Bourgogne, Cernay-les-Eheims, Beine, Caurel and 
Pomacle, and, in spite of desperate enemy resistance, drove back the 
Germans to the Suippe. 

After visiting the fort return to the village of Brimont. 

From here the Chateau de Brimont may be visited, but this will have to be 
done on foot as the road has been destroyed, traces only of it being left in 
places (the lower pfiotograph on p. 152 shows the beginning of the road in the 

The Chateau de I'Ermitage, also known as the Chateau de Brimont, is 
situated about 500 yards south of the village, at the entrance to a large park, 
completely devastated. It was the scene of desperate fighting (see p. 152). 

Return to Brimont, cross the village (skirting the church and continue straight 
on to the Cran de Brimont Redoubt on the road to Rheims. Numerous 
German trenches, etc., are to be seen here. 

Turn to the right into G.C. 9, which dips down to the Plain of Rheims. The 
region hereabouts bristle with barbed-wire entanglements and is crossed with 
numerous trenches. It was ranged to an incredible degree by the bombard- 

At the bottom of the hill which starts at the Cran de Brimont, cross Soulains 
Wood, of which only a few torn tree-stumps remain. 

Several hundred yards after leaving the wood, take on foot the broken road 
to the "Cavaliers de Courcy," situated on the right, about 500 yards 
further on. 



The "Cavaliers do Courcy" 

To the north of La Neuvillette, the Aisne-Marne Canal is flanked on 
both sides by enormous artificial embankments planted with fir-trees and 
known as the " Cavaliers de Courcy." After their retreat in September, 1914, 
the Germans entrenched thenselves there and clung to the east bank until 
April, 1917. 

On April 16, 1917, the French 410th Regiment of the Line attacked 
the enemy's formidable positions there. This Brittany regiment set out 
from positions to which they had given names taken from the history of their 
country (Quimper Bastion, Auray, Redon Bastion, etc.). On the first day 
they carried three successive lines of defences, and advanced about a mile. 
On the 17th and 18th they left their zone of action, to ensure the liaison, on 
their right, and to help a brigade in difficulties on their left. For eight days 
they held their positions against powerful enemy counter-attacks, after 
having progressed to a depth of two miles and captured more than 400 
prisoners, 11 bomb-throwers, and an immense amount of stores. 

These positions, like the neighbouring villages, were re-taken by the 
Germas in May and June, 1918, and finally by the Allies in October, 1918. 

Return to the road and follow it tmvards Rheims. Leave on the left the devas- 
tated Aviation-ground of Champagne now in a state of complete 
upheaval, due to the terrific shelling it received then cross the Plain of 
Betheny (photo, p. 157). 

The Plain of Betheny was the scene of two important historical events : 
in 1901 the Tsar Nicolas II. reviewed a part of the French Army there ; 
in August, 1909, the Great Aviation Week was inaugurated there, in the 
presence of an immense crowd of spectators. 


Photngraphed at 7,000ft. from aeroplane, August 6, 1916, at 10 a.m. 

Shcltrs. 18 feet deep.connected 
by subterranean gat/eries shown 
oy 'dotted ' /ines. 


The tourist passes through this region on returning to Rheirnn, shortly before coming to the 
bridge under the railway. The sketch map explains the photograph above. ' 


Pass under the Rheims-Laon railway by a very sharp double turning. Pier- 
quin Farm, entirely destroyed, stood on the right a short distance further on. 
The only remaining trace is the torn shapeless carcass of a large 
iron shed. 

The railway embankment south of Pierquin Farm was fiercely disputed 
from September 18, 1914, onwards. Several enemy attacks against it broke 
down before the French 75' s. During the offensive of May, 1918, the whole 
of this region was the scene of desperate fighting. La Neuvillette was taken 
on May 30, and Pierquin Farm on the 31st. On August 4, the French, 
after crossing the Aisne Canal, advanced to La Neuvillette, where the enemy 
made a desperate stand. At the beginning of October they advanced to the 
north of La Neuvillette, which the enemy was eventually compelled to 
abandon. The last inhabitants had left the locality on July 12, 1916. 

The tourist enters Rheims by the Rue de Neufchatel and the Avenue 
de Loon. 

La Neuvillette 

On reaching the Avenue de Loon, the tourist, instead of entering Rheiins, 
may turn to the right and go northwards as far as the village and cemetery of 
La Neuvillette. 

The cemetery of La Neuvillette is on the right of the road, between the last 
houses of Rheims and the village. It was completely cut up by a network of 
first-line trenches (photos, p. 159). 

The village of La Neuvillette, now in ruins, was the scene of desperate 
fighting during the German offensive of May, 1918. 

Nothing remains of the 12th century church of John-the-Baptist. 

The glass-works north-west of the village, by the side of the canal, are 
now a heap of ruins (photo, p. 159). 

Return to Rheims by the same road. 










(See complete Itineraries, p. 121, and map on p. 154.) 


This Itinerary will lead the tourist through the region of the Forts to the 
north-east of Rheims, which formed the rear of the German lines during the 
stabilisation period of 1914r-1918. 

It was this line of forts that, in the German hands, held the French in 
check after the first Battle of the Marne. Practically the whole of these 
works were but little damaged by the relatively light bombardments, and 
have retained traces of the German organisation. 

Leave Rheims by the Avenue de Laon (which begins at Les Pome'aades, 
opposite Mars Gate), and the Rue de Neufchdtel (second street on the right), 
Sortie No. IX. of the Michelin Tourist Guide (see coloured plan, pp. 32-33). 



FoUow in the contrary direction the route, described in the preceding Itinerary 
(p. 134 to p. 159) as far as the crossing in the Bermericourt-Bourgogne road, 
where stood Landau Farm, now entirely in ruins. At this crossing take 
G.C. 30 on the right. German camouflaging is still visible on the right-hand 
side of the road. 

Bourgogne Fresnes 

The village of Bourgogne, entirely in ruins, is soon reached. 

The village is of very ancient origin. Formerly it was protected by a 
belt of moats, now partly filled in, and by earthern ramparts, almost every- 
where levelled. The lines of these moats, planted with rows of elm-trees, 
are clearly distinguishable. There is a very extensive view from this original 

A portion of the village was burnt by the Germans Avho, in 1916, destroyed 
the belfry of the church with dynamite. 

This church (dedicated to St. Peter and St. Paul), with its fine Romanesque 
tower, was remarkable. 

The greater part of it dated from the 12th and 13th centuries. It is 
now in ruins (photo above). 

Cross straight through the village. Numerous German signs are still to be 
seen. At the cross-roads just outside the village, follow the railway, then cross 
it near the destroyed railway station of Fresnes. The village of Fresnes is 
reached shortly afterwards. 

Turn to the right at the first crossing met with. The church stands about 
100 yards away, on the l?ft. 

Xorman in style, the Church of Fresnes comprises a central nave with 
aisles and a tower without transept. It dates back to the 12th century, but 
was several times extensively altered and restored both in the 18th century 
and in recent times. 

A small porch of limestone added to the northern aisle, is reached by a 




round Norman bay of stone. In the corner of the porch, to the left on entering, 
is incrusted a fragment of a small funerary monument of the 16th century. 

This church was almost entirely destroyed. 

After turning to the right at the crossing mentioned above, keep straight on. 

About 2 kilometres from Fresnes the road from that village to Witry- 
les-Reims crosses an old Roman causeway, at the side of which, slightly to 
the south of Hill 118, the Fort of Fresnes was built in 1878. This fort "was 
blown up by the Germans during their retreat in 1918. Its ruins are 
impressive. In the moats of the fort are German trenches and shelters 
extending right up to the walls of the fort. 

The village of Witry-les-Reims is next reached. It suffered severely from 
the numerous bombardments, which its situation near the first lines rendered 


After crossing the railway (I.e.) at the entrance to the village, keep straight 
on. The ruined church is on the left, near the entrance to the village. 

Except for one tower, which dates from the 12th century, the church is 
modern. The spire was destroyed by the Germans. The belfry, used by 
the enemy as an observation-post, was struck by French shells. 

Like many of the villages around Rheims, Witry-les-Reims is of Gallo- 
Roman origin. More than two hundred Gallic sepulchres and cinerary urns 
have been brought to light. The objects thus discovered, including a large 
number of vases, now form the Bourin pre-historic collection. 

After visiting the church keep straight on. At the Mairie, of which only 
the front remains standing, turn to the right into the Rue Boitcton-Fayreaux. 
Follow this street to the Place Gambetta (about 200 yards distant), ivhere turn to 
the left. The entrance to " Pommern Tunnel," which connected up the 
German rear and front lines (photo, p. 163), is in this square. 

The German inscriptions in the tunnel have been taken down, and the 
entrance blocked up, on account of the roof and walls giving way. 



Leaving tJie Place Gambetta, take the Rheims-Rethel road (N. 51) on the left, 
then the first street on the right to the Fort of Witry. 

Just outside the village the road crosses the old Roman causeway from 
Rheims to Treves, and a little further on passes to the left of the Fort of Witry. 

The Fort of Witry suffered but little from the bombardments. 

The road climbs the northern slopes of the Berru Hill, across numerous 
German trenches. At the bottom of a short run-down, opposite the village of 
Berru, is a crossing of four ways. The road leading to the fort is the one straight 

On the, right, among the numerous defences, is a German cemetery con- 
taining a monument to the dead, ornamented with somewhat rudimentary 
carving and bearing an epitaph dedicated to the memory of the German 
soldiers who fell in the battles around Rheims. 

The road continues up the slopes of Berru Hill, to the right of the way leading 
to the auxiliary battery of the fort of Vigie de Berru. The top of the hill is 
soon reached, on which the fort, known as the " Vigie de Berru," stands. 
This fort was little bombarded, and is practically intact. 

Berru Hill, on account of its height, its sulphurous and ferruginous 
waters, flint quarries, and fertile soil, was inhabited in pre-historic times. 
At the summit, a campignien workshop, and farther down, above the springs 
which supply the village with water, a neolithic station have been discovered. 
Thousands of knives, arrow-heads, scrapers, saws, and other primitive tools 
have been unearthed. In the Gallo-Roman times the village must have been 
fairly important, judging by the vestiges of the ancient buildings discovered 
at tho foot of the hill. It was near Berru that the Gaulish helmet, now in the 
National Museum of St. Germain, was found. Towards the end of the 16th 
century (about 1575), during the Leaguers' struggles around Rheims, the 
village was fortified, to protect it from pillaging by the soldiers. The moats 
and glacis which surrounded it are still visible to the south, where, covered 
with trees, they adjoin the gardens. Subterranean places of refuge, the 
entrance to which is no longer known, formerly existed underneath the village. 

From the fort, the road winds down the oppcsite slopes of the hill. At 
the bottom of the latter, leave on the right the road to the Fort of Nogent 
I'Abbcssc, seen on the high ground to the right. 


Nogent I'Abesse Beine Berru 

(See Itinerary, p. 160, and summary of the Military Operations, p 154.) 

The village of Nogrent I'Abbesse is next reached, at the entrance to which 
the road divides into three branches. Take the middle one (G.C. 64), which leads 
to the ruined village of Seine. During the run-down to the village, there is a 
fine view of the Champagne Hills in front (Mont Cornillet and Mont Haut). 

The village of Beine was one of the oldest demesnes belonging to the 
Abbey of St. Remi-de-Reims. It was made into a commune at the end of 
the 12th century. 

The church of St. Laurent, situated in the centre of the village, was an 
excellent specimen of the transition style of the 12th century (photo beloiv). 

A road leading to Sillery leaves Beine in a south-westerly direction, but owing 
to its bad condition it is impossible to use it for returning to Rheims. The 




trenches and shell holes have barely been filled in, and the temporary bridges 
over the wider trendies would probably break down under a fairly heavy 
car. On the other hand, the huge craters made by the Germans in the course 
of their retreat, have only been summarily repaired and are not practicable 
for motor-cars. Tourists should therefore return to Nogent I'Abbesse by the road 
they came by. 

Enter the village by the main street, which follmv as far as the church, whose 
belfry has been destroyed. 

After the church, take the first street on the right, then the second road on the 
left (G.C. 64), which leads to Bcrru. In front of the village, turn to the, left and 
cross straight through. The 12th century Church of St. Martin, which suffered 
only slightly from the bombardments, is in the middle of the village, on the 
left (photo above). 

On leaving Berru, the tourist comes again to the crossing mentioned on p. 103. 
Turn to the right and return to Witry -Us -Reims by the road previously followed. 

At Witry-les- Reims, take N. 51 on the left } passing by the ruined works of 
Linguet (photo below). 

Rheims is reached by the Faubourg Ceres. Keep straight on to the Place 
Royale. via the Rue du Faubourg Ceres and the Rue Ceres. 






(See complete Itinerary, p. 121.) 

^f kilometres 

, FT'de la Jouissanca 


This Itinerary wiU take the tourist through two regions of entirely different 

The first part is devoted to visiting the battlefield south-east of Rheims, which 
was the scene of much desperate fighting throughout the war, but especially 
in 1918. This region formed the pivot of the French right wing, and remained 
firm despite the repeated powerful attacks of the enemy. 

The second part of the Itinerary leaves the battlefield proper, and conducts the 
tourist across the most reputed vine-growing centres of Champagne (Verzenay, 
Mailly-Champagne and Ludes), through lovely, picturesque country, which, 
although it has somewhat suffered from the bombardments, has nevertheless 
retained its per-war aspect. 

Leave Rheims by the Avenue de Chalons, continued by N. 44 (see the plan 
of Rheims between pp. 32 and 33, F. 6 and H. 7). 

The Avenue de Chalons was well within the first-line defences. 

Two communicating trenches run along the footpaths on either side of 
the Avenue. 

Skirt Pommery Park, on the left, completely ravaged by the bombardment 
and the net-work of trenches which cross it. 

As soon as the last liouses of the town have been left behind, the tourist finds 
himself in the midst of the battlefield. 

The sector, known as " La. Butte-de-Tir," situated on the left, below 
Cernay and beyond the railway, was the scene of furious fighting throughout 
the German occupation of 1914 to 1918 (photo below). 

Listening-post in front of Cernay village. 



The road crosses the Chalons Railway (I.e.), and goes thence direct to the 
Fort of La. Pom pel le, passing through an inextricable network of trenches 
and barbed wire entanglements. The country hereabouts was completely 
ravaged by the terrific bombardments, and recalls the devastated regions 
around Verdun, near Vaux and Douaumont (see the Michelin Illustrated Guide : 
Verdun, and the Battles for its Possession). 

La Jouissance Farm is next passed. Nothing remains either of it or 
of the road, which started from this point towards Cernay, on the kft. 



jSafflBBfc-/ * 


The Fort of La Pompciic, ivhich -i-s next reached, is now a mere heap of 
ruins. The road which led to the fort no longer exists. To visit the ruins 
of the fort, tourists will have to follow on foot the narrow-gauge railway which 
starts from the road (photo above). 

Tradition has it that St. Timothy came from Asia to convert Rheims, 
suffered martyrdom, together with St. Apollinaris and several companions, 
on the hill known as La Pompelle, so-called perhaps from the procession 
(pompa or pompella) which, in the Middle Ages, used to visit the place of 
martyrdom of the saints. 

This hill, which rises close to the crossing of the Rheims-St.-Hilaire-le- 
Grand and Rheims-Chalons Roads, was fortified after 1870, to flank the position 
of Berru on the south. 

The road from Rheims to Saint-Hilaire-le-Grand (G.C. 7), which used to 
start from the '* Alger Inn," at the cross-roads mentioned above, no longer 
exists. Like the inn, it was obliterated by the shelling. A huge crater now 
occupies the site of the Alger Inn (photo below}. 



" ALGER INN " (1918) 

Contimie along N. 44. About 1 kilometre from the fort, at a bend in the road, 
the shattered remnants of trees of an avenue are visible on the left. Under 
the first fir-tree of this avenue, about 20 yards from the national road, is an 
armoured machine-gun shelter, almost intact. 

Cross the railway (I.e.) near the entirely destroyed station of Petit-SiUery. 
After passing a ruined chateau on the left, cross the bridge over the Vesle. A t 
the fork beyond the bridge, leave N. 44 and take G.C. 8 on the right to Sillery. 

This village, renowned for its dry wine, is pleasantly situated on the banks 
01 the Vesle. Throughout the war, it was quite close to the trenches and was 
frequently bombarded. In May, 1916, only some fifty of its inhabitants 
remained in the village, which subsequently suffered very severely, especiallv 
in 1918. 

Take a turn in the village, then follow N. 44 towards Chalons (see Itinerary, 
p. 166). 



The region of Siliery-Pompeile was the scene of much fierce fighting 
throughout the war. After the capture of La Pompeiie and the " Alger inn " 

by the French 10th Corps on the night of September 17-18, 1914, the 
Germans increased the number of their attacks, with a view to regaining these 
important positions. 

One of these attacks (that of December 30, 1914) was preceded by the 
explosion of a mine at the " Alger Inn," which made a hole 130 feet in diameter 
by 55 feet deep (see photo, p. 169). After a hand-to-hand fight, the French 
drove back the enemy and remained masters of the crater. 

In 1918, during their offensives against Rheims, the Germans attacked 
several times in this region. On June 1, between Pommery Park (in the 
south-eastern outskirts of Eheims) and the north-east of Sillery, they attacked 
with eight or nine battalions and fifteen tanks. The garrison of Fort Pompeiie, 
momentarily encircled, held out until a furious counter-attack by the French 
Colonial Infantry relieved it and drove back the assailants. The German 
tanks were either captured or destroyed. On the 18th, after an hour's intense 
bombardment, the Germans made a fresh attack and secured a footing in 
the Northern Cemetery of Rheims and in the north-eastern outskirts of 
Sillery, but French counter-attacks drove them out almost immediately. 
From July 15 to 17 their attacks on Sillery were likewise repulsed. 

Continue, along N. 44 to the destroyed Esperance Farm (about 2 kilometres 
distant), then t^lrn to the right. Numerous military works were made by the 
French in the embankments of the Aisne-Marne canal along the left side of 
the road. 

The road rises towards the " Mountain of Rheims" 
dominating the whole plain, is seen on the left (photo below). 

Verzenay is next reached by the Rue de Sillery. 

A white tower, 




It was at Verzenay that, on the evening of September 3, 1914, the 
German aeroplane, which had dropped bombs on Rheims the same morning, 
was brought down. It has suffered relatively little from the bombardments. 

To visit the church, which contains the tomb of Saint-Basle (chapel on the 
right), take the Rue Gambetta, then the Rue Thiers. 

After visiting the church, return to the Rue Thiers, at the end of which is the 
Rue de Mailly (G.C. 26). 

Take the latter, which, on leaving Verzenay, rises fairly stiffly. 

At the top of the hill, on the right, begins the road leading to Verzenay Mill, 
which crowns Hill 227 (see Itinerary, p. 166, and photo above). 

This mill, whence there is a fine panorama of the plain as far as the hills 
of Berru and Moronvilliers, was a military observation-post of the first order 
during the siege warfare. 

It belongs to the champagne-wine firm of Heidsick Monopole, which allows 
tourists to visit it, as also their vineyards in the surrounding country. 

The road dips down to Mailly-Champagne, at the entrance to which village 
turn to the right into the Rue Gambetta, then to the left into the Rue de Ludes 
(G.C. 26). The road, cut out of the hillside, is very picturesque as far as Ludes. 
In the forest, on the left of the road, are numerous " cendrieres," or quarries, 
from which volcanic sulphurous cinders, used for improving the vines, are 
extracted. Heaps of these valuable cinders (grey, white and black) are 
frequently encountered at the side of the road. 

Ludes is next reached by the Avenue de la Gare. 

The region just passed through, including the villages of Verzenay, 
Mailly-Champagne and Ludes, as well as Verzy (to the east), and Rilly-la- 
Montagne and Villers-Allerand (to the west], are the wine-growing centres of 
the '' Mountain of Rheims " properly so-called, the black grapes from which 
produce the best brands of Champagne. The villages are picturesquely 
situated at the edge of the forests which crown the hills, while the vineyards 
which cover the slopes of the latter descend to the chalky plain. These 
vineyards, divided into tiny plots, the ground of which before the ravages of 
the phylloxera cost as much as 93,000 francs per hectare (about 2J- acres), 
constitute the principal wealth of the country. Here and there they have 
suffered from the war, but this has not prevented the vine-dressers from 
cultivating them (often with the help of the soldiers) or from gathering the 
grapes, under the continual menace of the German guns. 



At Ludes, in the Avenue de la Gare., turn to the right into the Rue de Cormon- 
treuil, and again to the right, into the Rue de Puisieulx (G.C. 33). 

At the crossing, 1 kilometre beyond Ludes, go straight on. After passing 
on the right an avenue bordered with trees leading to the Ch&teau of Romont, 
Puisieulx is reached. 

At the first crossing, on entering the village, keep straight on, then turn to the 
right as far as the ruined church, with its curious loop-holed chevet. Leave 
the church on the right and, at the end of the village, turn to the left. There are a 
few graves on the right of the road. After skirting a large estate, the trees of 
which were destroyed by shell-fire, the tourist reaches Siliery. 



Turn to the left into G.C. 8, at the entrance to the village. On the right are 
vestiges of a small wood, known as " Zouaves Wood," which was the scene of 
many sanguinary fights after its capture by the French in 1914. 

The tourist next readies Taissy, whose ruined church is on the right, by the 
side of the Vesle (photo, p. 173). 

This interesting church is largely Romanesque in style (tower, chevet and 
nave). The tabernacle, with altar-piece of carved wood, is Louis XIII. A 
fine wrought-iron railing encloses the sanctuary (photo below}. The small, 
sonorous bell of the belfry is, strange to say, 13th or 14th century. 

Pass straight through Taissy, then folloiv the tram-lines. Cormontreuii is 
entered by the Rue Victor-Hugo. 

From C'ormontreuil, the tourist may return to Rheims either by turning to 
the right in the village, beyond the tram station (in this case he will enter Rheims 
by the Rue de Cormontreuil which leads to the Place Dieu-Jjumiere') or by con~ 
tinning straight ahead,. In the latter case he will cross the Faubourg Flechambault 
by the Rue Ledru-Rollin. At the end of the latter, turn to the right into the Rue 
Flechambault which, after crossing the Vesle and the canal, l?ads to the Church of 
St. Rzmi. 




Political History of Rheims 3-7 

Military History of Rheims 8 and 9 

The Battles for Eheims, 1914-1918 . . .. . . . 9-15 

The Destruction of Rheims by the bombardments . . . 16-21 

Life in the bombarded City ....... 21-20 


THE CATHEDRAL (description of) ....... 28-60 

History of the Cathedral 28-30 

The Cathedral during the War .... . 31 and 32 

Coloured Plan of Rheims ...... between 32 and 33 

Plan of the Cathedral and Archi-episcopal Palace . . 33 

Exterior of the Cathedral ........ 34-49 

Interior of the Cathedral ........ 50-60 


The Place du Parvis 62 

The Archi-episcopal Palace ........ 63-66 

The Place Drouet d'Erlon and The Promenades ... 70 and 71 

The H6tel-de-Ville 72 

The Place des Marches ........ 74 

The Place Royale 78 

The Musicians' House . ... . . . . 80 

' The Mars Gate 82 

The Rue de Ceres 87 

SECOND ITINERARY THE CITY (continued) 95-120 

The Rue Chanzy 95-97 

The Lycee 97 and 98 

The Abbey of Saint Pierre-les-Dames ...... 98 

The Pommery Wine-Cellars 101 

The Church of St. Remi 103-j 16 

The Hotel-Dieu (Hospital) ... ' 117 



Ormes . . 
St. Euph raise 
Coulommes-la-Mon tagne 

COND ITINERARY (Afternoon) . 
Tinqueux .... 
Merfy .... 

St. Thierry .... 
Cormicy .... 
Le Godat .... 
Loivre .... 


The " Cavaliers de Courcy " 
La Neuvillette 

Bourgogne Fresnes . 
Witry-les-Reims . 
Nogent 1'Abesse Beine Berru. 

The Butte-de-Tir 
The Fort de la Pompelle 
Alger Inn .... 
Verzenay .... 



' 138 





XII 2,116-8-19-25 



Land of rich pastures and fashionable watering-places, 
Normandy may truly be said to have been " favoured by 
the gods." Her fertile soil, famous breeds of horses and 
cattle, picturesque sites, and renowned sea-bathing coast have 
made Normandy one of France's most flourishing provinces. 
Numerous splendid monuments evoke in the tourist's mind 
reminiscences of a glorious past. 

No region has been more lavishly adorned by Nature. 
Its mountain landscapes have caused it to be surnamed 
" La Petite Suisse." Among the more interesting places 
may be mentioned Bagnoles-de-1'Orne, with its famous 
mineral- water springs ; Rouen, with its celebrated cathedral, 
churches of St. Ouen and St. Maclou, Palais-de-Justice, and 
port (which the war has transformed into one of the most 
important in Europe); Caen "Norman Athens" with 
its Romanesque churches, Renaissance mansions, and ancient 
houses ; the great cathedrals of Sees, Evreux, Bayeux, 
and Coutances ; the feudal ruins of Arques, Chateau- 
Gaillard and Falaise ; the Abbeys of Juniieges and 
St. Wandrille ; the mediaeval narrow winding streets of 

Numerous sea-side resorts : Dieppe, St. Valery, 
Fecamp, Entretat, Le Havre, and St. Adresse, 
Honfleur, Trouville, Deauville, Villers, Houlgate, 
Cabourg, Cherbourg and Grandville are too widely 
known to call for special mention. 

Lastly St. Michael's Mount (surnamed the " Marvel 
of the West "), with its extraordinary pyramid of super- 
imposed Gothic monastery and Churches, built on a rock in 
the middle of a deep bay. 

jlll enquiries with regard to tracel/ing should be addressed 

to the " Touring Club de France," 65, Avenue de la Grande 

j4rmee 65, Paris. 



Touring Office :: 81, Fulham Road, S. W. 


Touring Office :: 99, Bd. Pereire, PARIS 

Why ask the. Way, when 

Michelin will tell you free of charge? 

Drop a line, ring us up, or call at one of our 
Touring Offices and you will receive a carefully 
worked out description of the route to follow. 



Rheims and the battles for its